Pep Guardiola chases perfection

Pep Guardiola also cautioned Manchester City that he is far from satisfied despite their exhilarating start to the season, winning all seven of their games since Guardiola took over.

The Spaniard claims he can never be truly happy with a performance. Guardiola said: “After (a game) for half an hour, one hour, sometimes three or four hours we are so happy - but after that you start to think again about the next one, you start to worry about the strikers of Bournemouth and how they play.

“I saw their game against West Ham and they were unlucky and they played really, really well against United in the first 30 minutes. They were perfect on the pitch.

“I’m not thinking about what we did in the past, our four games in the Premier League, our three games in the Champions League. I’m thinking about what’s going to happen tomorrow — what I have to tell, what I have to do, what do I have to train for them to be ready for our game.

“The Premier League is so difficult because you play so many complicated games. Any team can beat you and I have felt that. Tomorrow I am going to feel that.

“With my staff, the only demand is to work a lot. The reason they got it quick is because they are intelligent players.

“But we cannot forget where we are now - we are in September. It’s an opportunity to improve. In the recent past we did some good things but there are still many things we can do better.

“We will probably have things to improve even two years from now but so far we are happy.”

Guardiola warned captain Vincent Kompany cannot expect an automatic place in the City side when he returns from injury.

But the City boss also says neither John Stones nor Nicolas Otamendi, who have impressed in the Belgian’s absence in central defence this season, will retain their positions by default.

The influential Kompany will soon be back in contention after being sidelined since suffering a thigh injury in last season’s Champions League semi-final loss to Real Madrid.

His imminent availability points to a selection headache for Guardiola, but the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach insists that is more of an issue for the players than him.

Guardiola said: “They have to compete with each other and we’ll see on the pitch what is the best for that game. That is the best way to arrive in April or May with a chance to fight to win the titles.

“We need the players competing with each other. They have to know if they don’t play good that there’s another one beside me and the next time he is going to play.

“That’s the only way to arrive at the end of the season, fighting. I need Vincent because I know his quality. I need him to put pressure on John Stones, Nico Otamendi, (Aleksandar) Kolarov — all of them.”

In a marked difference from previous seasons, Kompany has so far not been greatly missed, in terms of leadership or defensive qualities. Stones has particularly caught the eye in his absence, with the £47.5m summer signing from Everton seeming a good fit for Guardiola’s style of playing out from the back.

Meanwhile Sergio Aguero is set to sign a one-year extension to his contract with City.

The striker, who has scored 145 goals in 213 appearances since joining City in 2011, is expected to commit to the club until 2020.

Guardiola said: “I don’t know if I am the right person to talk about that but I think he is going to extend the contract. But it is not official. I don’t know if it is definitely going to happen but if he stays I will be so, so happy.”

 


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