Pep Guardiola has taken a swipe at the pundits who wrote off his Manchester City team’s title chances. The Blues were not even in the conversation when they dropped to 13 following defeat at Tottenham in November, and were again dismissed after draws against West Brom and Manchester United the following month had followed a climb up to sixth. Since then they have won seven Premier League games on the bounce, and 11 in all competitions, to take over top spot from United, reach the Carabao Cup final and move into the fifth round of the FA Cup. Guardiola shrugs that off, adapting the old Rudyard Kipling maxim by treating praise and criticism in the same manner.
Asked whether being favourites requires a different mentality,
Pep Guardiola replied: “No, the same way like just one month ago we had no chance to win the title.The pundits are always good when we win but not one month ago we were not even in Champions League qualification for next season. Now we are the only favourites. It is in one ear and out the other. Nothing else. In 11 months you have good and bad moments. We will have bad moments, we are going to lose games. We have won 11 games in a row, that is quite exceptional in the times we are living but we are going to lose games and drop points. It is how we recover – that and being stable in that position. I am not concerned with the pundits’ opinion, it is their job and I respect that a lot but it goes in one ear and out the other.”
(Image: 2020 Getty Images)
The problems posed by the pandemic have proved a leveller this season, and Sheffield United proved that with their surprise win at Old Trafford on Wednesday. And that means, more than ever, that the adage of taking each game as it comes, is essential.
Guardiola Said: “When people ask me what I expect for this season or tomorrow, I don’t know,”. “My only concern is Sheffield United. I saw the game (the 1-0 win at Bramall Lane in October) and we suffered a lot to beat them. The year before at home they deserved to take advantage in the first half but we won 2-0 because of brilliant actions from our quality players. We won there 1-0 , we won there this season 1-0. All the games this season have been so tough and I know it.We have to discover what we can to do better than the game we won in Sheffield at the beginning of the season and we were not really, really good.”
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