EPL

''If I lose the team I cannot be here' – Guardiola warns City cannot dwell on past glories

By Sports Desk January 21, 2023

Pep Guardiola would leave Manchester City if he did not think the players were behind him.

Guardiola pulled no punches with his verdict on the Premier League champions' first-half display in a 4-2 Premier League victory over Tottenham on Thursday.

The City manager said his players lacked "passion, fire and desire to want to win from the first minute" after they were booed off when Spurs went into the break with a two-goal lead at the Etihad Stadium.

They were transformed in the second half, blowing Antonio Conte's side away to move five points behind leaders Arsenal – who have a game in hand.

City could cut the gap to two points by beating Wolves on Sunday before the Gunners do battle with Manchester United.

Guardiola reiterated City must have the appetite for the fight and reach the consistently high standards that have enabled them to achieve so much success, even if he can understand why they might be lacking hunger.

"I won four LaLigas in a row when I was a player, in the fifth [season] I was not the same, in the sixth I was not the same. I was not starving enough. Madrid beat me; fifth and the sixth," he told reporters.

"I understand them [his players], but I am here to do it. The chairman knows that, I want to be here, otherwise I wouldn't stay. But if I lose the team or I lose something, I cannot be here.

"When I retire or decide the time is over at Man City or the moment I die and people say 'oh how good was Pep' it's not about that. But still we are here. We are second in the table, we are not 25 points behind Arsenal, still we are there.

"There are 57 points still to play for. What I'm saying is in this way [the first-half display against Spurs], no chance. We [also] have the FA Cup, Champions League and next season."

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss urged his players to focus on the present and the future rather than what they have already accomplished.

"I'm sorry for our haters, we will be in history in the Premier League, what the team has done," he added.

"How well we have done, the record breakers, many things and the consistency of playing a good level.

"But it is the past, now is here and our fans want the second half more often. That is what we have to find."

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