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Pep Guardiola consoles Bristol City boss after Aguero's late winner

Published in England Premier League
Wednesday, 10 January 2018 09:58

Bristol City suffered stoppage-time heartbreak in their League Cup semi-final at Manchester City on Tuesday but played better than most Premier League teams that visit the Etihad Stadium, according the home side's manager Pep Guardiola.

The second-tier visitors had taken the lead with a penalty before the break in the first leg clash and then held on for dear life after Kevin De Bruyne levelled for the hosts.
Yet Sergio Aguero's last-gasp goal gave City a 2-1 advantage heading into the return game in two weeks' time.

The late strike was a gut-wrenching blow for visiting manager Lee Johnson, whose team had already dumped four top flight sides out of the competition, but his opposite number in the dugout had words of consolation at full time.

"Pep Guardiola said to me that we played better than most of the Premier League teams that come to Man City," Johnson told Sky Sports.

"We'll take an awful lot from it and learn a lot. It is not over. It will be an interesting game at Ashton Gate.

"The away goal was very important. We tried to score and certainly didn't park the bus. The lads have to go home and think we can kick on form this performance."
Manchester City, who are unbeaten and 15 points clear in the Premier League, fell behind when defender John Stones dived into a rash challenge on Bobby Reid, who dispatched the penalty.

The visitors' lead lasted until the 55th minute but after De Bruyne's leveller it was one-way traffic as they defended bravely in the face of a City onslaught.

"My players were fantastic because in football you can win, you can lose, but we try until the end," Guardiola said. "We win many games in the last minutes because we don't give up. A semi-final is always complicated.

"I said congratulations to Lee Johnson on full time. They are a fantastic team for many reasons. They can play, they are fast, they know exactly what to do. It will be tough in Bristol."

Pep Guardiola: Captain Vincent Kompany will be ready for Manchester City's trip to Palace

Published in England Premier League
Saturday, 30 December 2017 07:43

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany is expected to be available for Sunday's Premier League trip to Crystal Palace after manager Pep Guardiola said the injury suffered by the defender against Newcastle United was only a minor knock.

Kompany, who has suffered a series of injury setbacks over the last two years, was substituted after 10 minutes at St James' Park before City went on to win 1-0 to extend their lead to 15 points at the top of league table.
"Vincent is not as bad as we thought," said Guardiola. "He will be ready for the next fixtures. We will know exactly tomorrow, but it is not a big issue."

Guardiola also added that Fabian Delph could be fit for Palace but defender John Stones, who is out of action with a hamstring injury, is not yet ready to play a full 90 minutes.
"Fabian was not fit for Newcastle, but he is much better now. We will see. Fabian is a similar case to Vincent - he knows his body," the manager said.

"John Stones is also much better. I think he will be fit for the next game [Watford] which is huge news for us."

City have won a record 18 consecutive league games, with midfielder Kevin de Bruyne and winger Raheem Sterling attracting particular praise for their performances. However, Guardiola highlighted defender Nicolas Otamendi's contributions as the key reason for their recent success.
"Everybody has spoken about a lot of players like Raheem, Kevin, Sergio [Aguero], they deserve it, but if I can point some attention to a player who deserves the respect is Nico.

"He has been amazing - he is one of the hugest competitors I have ever seen in my life. I cannot imagine the situation we are in at the moment in terms of the table without him. It would have been impossible."

Kevin De Bruyne performance leaves Pep Guardiola speechless

Published in England Premier League
Monday, 18 December 2017 13:09

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said he had no words to describe the performance of midfielder Kevin De Bruyne after the Belgian inspired them to a 4-1 crushing of Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.

De Bruyne was at the heart of City's record-extending 16th straight league win, scoring their second with a blistering strike.
Beyond that he was a constant threat to Tottenham every time he had the ball, torturing Spurs with both his sweeping passes and his direct running at their defence.

He was brought down for the second-half penalty that was struck against the post by Gabriel Jesus and it was the Belgian's burst forward that led to City's third goal, which put the outcome beyond doubt.

"His performance today, I have no words, no words to describe what he has done with the ball, how many assists, his (ability to) switch play," said the Spanish manager.

When Guardiola did find a way to describe the Belgian's impact, it was to emphasise some of the midfielder's work that might not be picked up in television highlights packages.

"The fact that he is one of the most talented players and you see him, how he runs without the ball, he is a good example for the young players, for our academy...

"They know how good Kevin De Bruyne is and they can see how he runs and fights without the ball and that is the best example. He helps us to be a better club, a better institution for the future, that is what we want to do," said Guardiola.

"All the time he watches the game in his head and then without the ball, he is able to make the pressure from 40 metres (out) to the goalkeeper. When that happens, the people behind him see it and say ‘if that guy runs like this, I have to run as well’."

Amid talk of City perhaps going the whole season unbeaten, De Bruyne said they were focused purely on their main goal of winning the title.

"No, absolutely not. We are here to win titles, we had a great start, it's still more than half (of the season remaining) so it's very difficult, very hard. We want to win each game, we're doing a good job," he said.

"We know the quality of the team is high, we know this mentally, we want to win every game, we're very busy and mentally we want to keep going. It was a great performance."

Pep Guardiola: Manchester City are confident but not complacent

Published in England Premier League
Friday, 15 December 2017 06:49

Pep Guardiola has spoken of his confidence after another record-breaking triumph by Manchester City on Wednesday, but denied that complacency could derail his team's title hopes.

Fresh from overseeing an outright record for successive Premier League victories -- 15 and counting this season -- with another 4-0 master-class at Swansea City, Guardiola sounded almost affronted at the idea the leaders might lose their focus.
"That is not going to happen," the Spaniard told the BBC, when asked if a slacking off might materialise with City now 11 points clear and their nearest chasers all seemingly becoming more resigned to it being a hopeless pursuit.

"We are so demanding for our players. We can lose, we can drop points but complacency never happened in the past, the present or the future. Winning 15 games in a row gives us a lot of confidence," Guardiola said.
Having broken the single-season record with a 14th consecutive win in the Manchester derby at United on Sunday, win number 15 beat the top-flight landmark in the Premier League era set by Arsene Wenger's Arsenal, spanning two seasons in 2002.

Yet what has evidently delighted the Spaniard more than anything has been the way City seemed to have carved out their triumphs in the same kaleidoscopic manner he fashioned previously at Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

"If people are happy watching us, that is the best gift," he said, making it sound like an early Christmas present for English soccer fans.

Among the delights he has served up, perhaps nothing has been finer than the way Guardiola has brought David Silva, his marvellous Spanish midfield conductor, into full bloom.
With his double against Swansea, Silva has now been involved in 13 Premier League goals in 17 matches this season -- five goals and eight assists -- which is already more than he managed in the whole of 2016-17.

Guardiola was left delighted that, at 31, his orchestrator was now apparently also becoming more of a predator.

"I'm so happy for David," he enthused. "We cannot disguise his quality but in the past he didn't score too much goals. He's sharp, he's in an amazing condition."
It may have been a pleasure for the neutral but for Swansea boss Paul Clement, who also had to see goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero ensure his side remain rooted to the foot of the table, it was "horrible" to behold.

"For me, [City] are one of the best sides I've ever come across," said Clement, who has been assistant manager at Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.

"So many good athletes, so many intelligent footballers and it's really hard to pin them down."

So hard indeed that only Everton, in the Premier League, this season have managed to take a point from them and it is increasingly looking the tallest of orders for any other side to follow suit.

FA seeks Pep Guardiola's observations after Nathan Redmond exchange

Published in England Premier League
Saturday, 02 December 2017 12:06

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has been asked for his observations by the Football Association following his animated discussion with Southampton midfielder Nathan Redmond after Wednesday's Premier League game.

Guardiola walked on to the pitch following his team's 2-1 win over Southampton and gestured wildly during an exchange with Redmond before playing down the incident in his post-match news conference saying he was merely praising the 23-year-old.
The Spaniard has until Monday to respond to the FA.
Redmond backed up Guardiola's version with a post on his Twitter account, saying that the City manager had not let out expletives and was complimenting him despite appearing to be intense and aggressive.

"He commented on my qualities as a young English player and how he wanted me to attack his team more during the game in a similar way to last season," Redmond tweeted.
"I told him I was doing what my manager had asked me to do in the game. That's it. Nothing more, nothing less.

"Nothing negative or offensive was said towards me from Pep and that's what makes him one of the best managers in world football."

Pochettino: Guardiola disrespectful over 'Harry Kane team' comments

Published in England Premier League
Saturday, 14 October 2017 10:50

Mauricio Pochettino has hit back at Pep Guardiola's assessment of Tottenham as 'the Harry Kane team' by pointing out he never called his Barcelona side 'the Lionel Messi team'.

Pochettino also branded Guardiola's comments, made before the international break, as "very disrespectful" and "sad" but insisted his Spurs players only laughed when they heard the Manchester City manager's remark.

Kane has scored 11 goals in his last six appearances for Tottenham, and Guardiola, speaking a fortnight ago after City had just beaten Chelsea, said: "We saw again the Harry Kane team scores every day two or three goals."
On Friday, Pochettino said: "That didn't affect me but the reality is it was very disrespectful for many people.

"It's difficult to understand because he was part of the big success at Barcelona with Messi at his best, and I never said it was 'the Messi team'. I always said it was Barcelona or Pep Guardiola.

"I think everyone deserves to be recognised as part of the success of the team. But I think many people took those words as very disrespectful for the club, and for many players that are here I think it's a strange situation."

Pep Guardiola backs 'exceptional' Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde

Published in Spain Primera Division
Tuesday, 06 June 2017 08:53

Pep Guardiola has given his backing to new Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde calling him ‘exceptional’ and ‘a good friend’.

The current Manchester City boss, who was at the helm at the Camp Nou between 2008 and 2012, believes the hiring of Valverde following his departure from Athletic Bilbao was a ‘strong choice’.

"Ernesto is an exceptional Coach and a good friend," Guardiola is quoted as saying by Marca.

"Barcelona have made a strong choice."

Guardiola also took time to give credit to Real Madrid and Zinedine Zidane, but warned Los Blancos that his former club would bounce back.

"He is a great coach and, as a player, he was on another level," he continued.

"I am happy for him because he has done an excellent job.

"I congratulate Real Madrid because they were the worthy winner of the Champions League, but I would also tell them not to become overconfident because Barcelona always bounce back.”

[HAZARD ON REAL LINKS: "WE ALL DREAM"]

Read the original article on Football Espana - The ultimate website for English-speaking fans of Spanish football

Pep Guardiola: Bayern, Barcelona would have sacked me by now

Published in England Premier League
Tuesday, 16 May 2017 11:03

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola believes Bayern Munich and Barcelona would have sacked him if he had overseen a similar campaign to the one his Manchester City team have had at either of the European powerhouses.

Guardiola took over at the Etihad at the start of the season after trophy-laden spells in Spain and Germany had confirmed his status as one of the world's most sought-after coaches, but finding success in England has been harder to achieve.

City can finish no higher than third in the Premier League and were knocked out of both domestic cups and the Champions League, with Guardiola set to end a season without any silverware for the first time in his managerial career.

"At Barcelona or Bayern Munich, there you have to win by far," Guardiola told a news conference on Monday. "If not, they don't give you a second chance.
"(The) pressure I had when I arrived in Barcelona, when I had nothing to defend (myself with) -- at that club, if in six months you don't win, you are really out."

Guardiola is prepared to embrace the "second chance" he believes City have given him, but said he could lose his job next season if the results did not improve.

"Here they gave me a second chance and we will try to do it. In my situation at a big club -- I'm sacked, I'm out. Sure. Definitely," he added.
"At the clubs I worked at before, I am not here, but here we have a second chance and we will try to do it better than this season.

"If what happens next season is not going well, I'll have one more year of contract, and if it's not going well they are going to change manager. I am not staying here because I am Pep or what I have done a long time ago."

Zlatan: I still get fired up by facing Guardiola

Published in Spain Primera Division
Wednesday, 22 March 2017 10:44

Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has revealed he still gets fired up by the prospect of facing former boss Pep Guardiola.

The Swedish striker played under Guardiola at Barcelona during the 2009-10 season, but the pair’s relationship deteriorated, culminating in a public fall-out, and Ibrahimovic moved to AC Milan after just one year in Catalonia.

They now find themselves in the Premier League; Guardiola at Manchester City and Ibrahimovic at Manchester United, working under Jose Mourinho – a coach he has formed a much better relationship with.

And the Old Trafford pair are united in their issues with Guardiola.

"When I play against his team, it's something that motivates me, it gives me adrenaline," Ibrahimovic told Fox Sports Italia. "It is normal, after what's happened.

"I'm using it as something positive, not negative. But it is something always in the back of my mind."
Ibrahimovic’s time at Barcelona wasn’t a total disaster as he won the Liga title under Guardiola, scoring 16 league goals. But their relationship soon declined and the Swede still claims to be unsure why.

"I learned a lot at Barcelona, both on and off the pitch. I learned that in football any situation can change in just 24 hours," he added.

"The problem wasn't with me, it was with him [Guardiola], and he never came to terms with it. I don't know what his problem was with me.

"First he called me every day to get me and from one day to the next I didn't play anymore."

However, the 35-year-old has suggested that the feud is no longer as strong as it once was.

"It is the past and I am someone who looks to the future, and the future is in front of me."

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