EPL

Pep Guardiola knows Man City fans will be behind team if ‘bad moments’ arrive

By Sports Desk December 02, 2023

Pep Guardiola has no doubt Manchester City’s fans will be there to lift the team if they ever hit a poor run.

City supporters have seen little but success during Guardiola’s reign as manager, winning five Premier League titles and a glorious treble last season.

Yet Guardiola recognises that run may one day come to an end and it is then the City manager hopes the fans, so used to being entertained, will be able to inspire them.

The Spaniard said: “We want the fans to enjoy and have fun, have one hour and 30 minutes in good moments. That depends on us. When we play good, always they are there.

“It’s just sometimes the situation is not going well. In that moment it’s not because the players don’t want it – because they’ve proved over how many years their consistency – but it is in that moment we need them.

“Of course we won a lot and, in the future, maybe you have to understand in the mind that this is an exception. It’s not normal to win the treble, it’s not normal to win five Premier Leagues in six years.

“You have to understand that – OK, continue to enjoy – but if the bad moments are coming this season and the next one and the next one, you have to be there.

“And I’m pretty sure they’ll be there because it’s a club that has come from Maine Road and from being in mid-table, not fighting for the titles. They were there all the time.

“I was not here but the people talk to me. So if it’s coming back down a little, ‘Come on, let’s go.’ Do what you have to do to come back there on top of the league and don’t be down for a long time.”

Guardiola, however, is confident the current crop of players would not allow a slump to occur.

He said: “The players are the most important thing, and I know they know it, otherwise what we have done cannot be possible.

“The players always are there, even losing 0-2, still we run, still we fight.”

Guardiola’s own powers of motivation are well known, although he has downplayed the significance of his sharp comments after last season’s home clash against Tottenham as he prepares to host the same opponents on Sunday.

City suffered a dip in form in the early part of 2023 and needed to come from 2-0 down against Spurs to avoid a third successive loss.

Afterwards, Guardiola labelled his side the “Happy Flowers” team, essentially accusing them of lacking concentration.

Observers later cited it as a turning point in their treble-winning campaign.

But Guardiola said: “That was my feeling in that moment. I had to say something. Because we won we can believe it (worked) but it is not the truth. Because we won (people say), ‘How brilliant was Pep?’ but we could do it again and it might not work.”

Related items

  • Emery admits 'I have my dreams' with Villa after sealing Champions League qualification Emery admits 'I have my dreams' with Villa after sealing Champions League qualification

    Unai Emery has his sights set on winning the Premier League or Champions League with Aston Villa after securing a top-four finish earlier this week.

    Fifth-place Tottenham's defeat to title-chasing Manchester City on Tuesday meant Villa will play in Europe's premier club competition next season for the first time in 41 years.

    Emery's side conclude a memorable season – in which they also reached the Europa Conference League semi-finals – away at Crystal Palace on the final day.

    And the Spaniard is already focused on achieving bigger and better things with Villa. 

    "It really was amazing when the [Tottenham-Manchester City] match finished," he smiled. "At the beginning of the season, it was really a dream. Of course, we worked hard to try to be there.

    "I want to get better, and I have my dreams, and I believe in my dreams. Of course, my objectives are to win the Premier League or the Champions League. We are not contenders, but it is our dream to achieve something like that."

    Meanwhile, Palace have enjoyed a strong finish to the season, winning five of their last six games.

    The Eagles could seal a top-half finish with a victory – and other results going their way – and Oliver Glasner has urged his players to use that as inspiration at Selhurst Park.

    "I'm pleased with the performances we've had," he said. "We want to win. We always focus on what we can influence. If we don't do our job, we don't win, we can't be 10th. It's good motivation at home to say thank you to the fans."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Crystal Palace – Jean-Philippe Mateta

    Mateta has scored in each of his last six home Premier League appearances for Palace, netting eight goals along the way. 

    He is now aiming to become only the second Frenchman after Thierry Henry to find the net in seven successive Premier League appearances on home soil.

    Aston Villa – Ollie Watkins

    Watkins has recorded the most assists in the Premier League this season with 13.

    Only Ashley Young has ever provided more during a single Premier League campaign for Villa (14 in 2007-08).

    MATCH PREDICTION: DRAW

    Palace are unbeaten on each of the previous 11 occasions they have finished a top-flight season with a home match (winning seven, drawing four).

    By contrast, Villa have only won once in the 25 occasions they have finished a league campaign with an away game (drawn seven, lost 17).

    That sole victory came against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in 2001-02.

    On a brighter note, Villa are unbeaten in their last 10 Premier League away games in London, winning five of their six this term. 

    With 16 such points this season, a win or draw here would set a new Premier League record for the most achieved during a single campaign.

    Although, you must go back to their title-winning season of 1980-81 for the last time they completed a league double over Palace.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Crystal Palace: 31.8%
    Aston Villa: 39.5%
    Draw: 28.7

  • Leverkusen have no time to soak in 'Neverlusen' season - Alonso Leverkusen have no time to soak in 'Neverlusen' season - Alonso

    Xabi Alonso says it will take time for Bayer Leverkusen's undefeated run to their maiden Bundesliga to sink in.

    Long derided as 'Neverkusen' for their failure to win a major title for decades, Leverkusen became the first-ever team in the Bundesliga to complete a full season without a loss following a 2-1 victory over Augsburg in the season finale on Saturday.

    In fact, across the top five European leagues, only Arsenal (2003-04) and Juventus (2011-12) have achieved an invincible season since the start of the millenium. 

    The club hailed the achievement by giving themselves a new nickname on their social media channel - 'Bayer 04 Neverlusen'.

    "It is an exceptional season, not only in Germany but in Europe," Alonso said in a press conference.

    "We deserve now to be part of that history of European football. In 20 years, we will look back, and we will say 'we did that'.

    "It is an important day for the club. We have to be proud of the way we played. 90 points and undefeated. We need a bit more time to value this title. The first Bundesliga title but a big Bundesliga title victory."

    Alonso's team also stretched their European record unbeaten run across all competitions this season to 51 matches as they look to complete the treble next week. 

    Leverkusen face Atalanta on Wednesday in the Europa League final before taking on Kaiserslautern in the German Cup final on May 25.

    "I believe it [the unbeaten title win], but I need more time. But we have no time because we have the next big goal [on Wednesday]. It is unique opportunity," Alonso added.

    "We will remember this day. It is a special day to have the league trophy here and having done it undefeated. This team has now been engraved in Bundesliga history."

  • Forest 'still have to finish the job' against Burnley, says Nuno Forest 'still have to finish the job' against Burnley, says Nuno

    Nuno Espirito Santo insists Nottingham Forest “still have to finish the job” of securing their Premier League safety when they face Burnley at Turf Moor.

    Three points clear of 18th-place Luton Town in 17th, Forest are all but safe from relegation, while it would take an unlikely 12-goal swing in the Hatters’ favour to usurp them.

    Nevertheless, Nuno is not taking anything for granted and has called for focus from his players, who he saluted for their efforts throughout the campaign. 

    "We still have to finish the job," he said. "But credit to the players because it was not an easy season. We have always been able to compete really well in games. 

    "The feeling is always that we should have been better. We have never felt that someone beat us; it was just that we let games get away from us.

    "Yes, in certain games we have been punished, but we have always been a team that wants to attack and score. That is part of our identity.

    "There is still a game to go, and we know how football can go. It is best that we prepare the same way with commitment. We are clear about everything that can happen. It is up to us to achieve what we want."

    Meanwhile, Burnley are preparing for life back in the Championship, with their immediate return secured after last weekend’s defeat at Tottenham.

    And Vincent Kompany says the match marks the first step towards the Clarets' recovery from their disappointment.

    "If we're treating this as the first game of next season, in terms of preparing for next season, then this game is an important game," he said.

    "You only really fail if you fail to learn and that's not the case for us. We've absolutely learned. There is no lack of motivation, no lack of desire. 

    "It's sometimes in human nature to sit down and sulk, to feel sorry for yourself. That is not in the culture here, it's not in my nature, the nature of many people here. 

    "We try to give that to the players – that's ultimately what is going to give them a chance to achieve their goals."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Burnley – Dara O'Shea

    O'Shea has been directly involved in two of the last three goals Burnley have scored at Turf Moor (one goal, one assist).

    The defender will look to build on that against a Forest side that has conceded 23 goals from set-pieces this season, with only three teams ever letting more in during a single Premier League campaign.

    Nottingham Forest – Chris Wood

    Wood is the highest scorer in Burnley’s Premier League history, having netted 49 times for the Clarets in the competition between 2017 and 2022.

    The striker will aim to become the fifth player to score a Premier League goal against Burnley having previously played for them in the division, after Andre Gray, Danny Ings, Michael Keane and Patrick Bamford.

    MATCH PREDICTION: DRAW

    Forest are without a win in each of their last six league meetings with Burnley since a 2-0 victory in December 2012, with four of those ending in a draw.

    The Tricky Trees have failed to win their final league game in each of the last four seasons, since beating Bolton Wanderers 1-0 in 2018-19.

    Meanwhile, Burnley have lost their final Premier League game in each of their last six campaigns at this level.

    The Clarets have also won only twice at home this season. Failure to win here would mean this is the fewest wins they have ever recorded in front of their fans in a single campaign.

    Kompany’s side will need to tighten up in order to avoid that, though, having conceded at least once in each of their last 19 Premier League matches.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Burnley: 35.9%
    Nottingham Forest: 34.8%
    Draw: 29.3%

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.