Pep Guardiola refusing credit for lower league sides adopting Man City’s style

By Sports Desk January 06, 2024

Pep Guardiola refuses to take any credit for lower division sides playing in the style of his all-conquering Manchester City team.

A greater number of clubs beneath the Premier League are now looking to play out from the back, dominate possession and pass their way through opponents in the manner at which City have excelled.

That could be testament to Guardiola’s extraordinary success in his near-eight years at the Etihad Stadium, but it is not something he is aware of.

“I don’t have time to see other teams,” said Guardiola, whose treble-winning side begin their FA Cup defence against Championship outfit Huddersfield at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

“Always I believe teams play what the manager believes in, first for the players they have and they adapt.

“If one team plays high pressing it is because the manager believes in that, if a team play long balls it is because the manager believes in that. This is the most important thing but I don’t know.

“I have watched Leicester a little bit because in their last game they played Huddersfield and because (former assistant) Enzo (Maresca) is there, and I am curious and happy for how incredible he’s doing but, the rest, I don’t have time.”

Guardiola intends to make the most of City’s lighter schedule this month by getting through extra work on the training field, including at a warm-weather camp in Abu Dhabi.

After playing nine games in December, including two in Saudi Arabia for the Club World Cup, City have just three fixtures in January, although that will increase to four if they beat the Terriers in their third-round tie.

Guardiola said: “The Premier League took a great decision to make Boxing Day and Christmastime intense, like it always has been, and then to take a break in January.

“It helps a lot to arrive in February fresh mentally. It’s good now to have the FA Cup, to try to retain the title or go as far as possible, and after that we have a really important game at Newcastle.

“Then after that two weeks to refresh our minds. We will have more time to train in Abu Dhabi, to remember things that you cannot do normally.

“You have to try to do things you don’t have time to do in the busy schedule. We can refresh concepts we maybe forgot because we don’t have time to train.”

Related items

  • It’s time to show what we’re made of, says Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta It’s time to show what we’re made of, says Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta

    Mikel Arteta has challenged his Arsenal team to show “what they are made of” after seeing their Premier League title bid stutter and their Champions League hopes dashed.

    The Gunners crashed out of Europe at the hands of Bayern Munich on Wednesday as the German side earned a 3-2 aggregate quarter-final victory.

    That loss came hot on the heels of a 2-0 home defeat to Aston Villa in the league, but Arsenal have the chance to return to the summit by beating Wolves on Saturday, with leaders Manchester City in FA Cup semi-final action against Chelsea.

    Speaking ahead of the trip to Molineux, Arteta said: “It’s been an experience, not the best one.

    “We’re fully focused on the times we have ahead of us with six games to go.

    “The context is clear, if we win we go top of the league, you don’t need anything else to be motivated.”

    Arsenal are without a win in their last three games in all competitions, having drawn the first leg against Bayern.

    “It is what it is and we have to accept it,” Arteta added.

    “The Bayern one at home at the beginning, it could have been different. Against Villa we were the better team, but in the second half we paid the price for the chances we gave them and we have to move on from there.

    “Now it is about showing against Wolves what we are made of and turning the situation around.”

    Arteta thanked his players for all they have achieved so far this season.

    He said: “I’m fully behind them. Thank you so much for the journey together, thank you for being in the quarter-finals of the Champions League and being so close.

    “Thank you for competing against the best team in Premier League history (Manchester City) and the best team in the competition in the last eight years with Liverpool and we’re in with a chance to win it.

    “Thank you so much for everything they have done, because it is unbelievable.”

    At Molineux, Arsenal will face a Wolves side who are without a win in their last four league matches, but Arteta praised the job manager Gary O’Neil has done since taking over last summer.

    He said: “He’s done unbelievable, so well. You can see by the way they’re coached, the spirit of the team, the difficulty they create for every opponent, they’re a really good side and it will be tough tomorrow.”

  • Hamstring operation puts Nathan Patterson’s Euro 2024 hopes in doubt Hamstring operation puts Nathan Patterson’s Euro 2024 hopes in doubt

    Nathan Patterson’s Euro 2024 hopes have suffered a major blow after the Scotland and Everton right-back was told he needs an operation.

    Patterson has been ruled out for the rest of the domestic season after suffering a hamstring injury against Chelsea on Monday.

    The news will be a serious concern for Scotland head coach Steve Clarke, who also has a major doubt over Brentford right-back Aaron Hickey’s fitness.

    Everton manager Sean Dyche said: “Patto will be out for the season, he will need surgery. It’s a very unfortunate injury. We’re disappointed in that one, for him as much as us as well.

    “It’s a shame for Patto, he came on and looked sharp the other night, he’s been training really well, just getting back to where I think he can be – because I think he’s a very good player – and he’s very unfortunate with a really awkward fall.

    “He won’t make another game this season, I’m sure.”

    When asked about Patterson’s hopes of playing in the European Championship, Dyche said: “I don’t know on the medical side of the times other than this season, as in playing for us.

    “But he will have surgery, so we hope that goes well and then it’s how quickly it settles, I’m sure.”

    Hickey has not played since October – he also suffered a hamstring injury at Stamford Bridge – and is unlikely to play for Brentford again this season, but has not given up hope of making the Euros.

    Celtic right-back Anthony Ralston has been in recent squads while versatile Bristol City player Ross McCrorie, who has featured at right-back in his career, was also a late call-up recently.

    Clarke suffered a major blow earlier in the week when it was revealed that in-form Bologna midfielder Lewis Ferguson had suffered cruciate ligament damage, ruling him out of the summer tournament in Germany.

    There was better news for Clarke from Norwich this week when it was revealed Grant Hanley is expected to return to training next week.

    The defender pulled out of the Scotland squad for recent friendlies against Netherlands and Northern Ireland after suffering a setback following his recent return from a long-term Achilles injury.

  • Wolves v Arsenal: ‘What we still have to play for is beautiful’ – Arteta Wolves v Arsenal: ‘What we still have to play for is beautiful’ – Arteta

    Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta set out to remind his team that they still have something “beautiful” to play for despite their Champions League exit.

    The Gunners slipped out of UEFA’s flagship club competition in midweek when they went down 1-0 to Bayern Munich, losing 3-2 on aggregate.

    That defeat followed on from a 2-0 loss to Aston Villa last Sunday – a reverse that significantly dented Arsenal’s title hopes, with the Gunners now two points behind Manchester City who, after this weekend, will have a game in hand.

    Arsenal face Wolves on Saturday and, with City in FA Cup action, a win would see them move back to the top of the table, at least temporarily, so Arteta offered a reminder that all is not lost.

    “I can guarantee you we are fully focused on Wolves and everybody's lifted,” he said following the loss in Munich.

    “What we still have to play is beautiful and I said before, it's time to be next to our players and in this moment, not when you win 10 in a row and a draw, that's easy to prize our players and to be behind them and to say really nice things. The moment is now to be next to them.”

    On Friday, in his pre-match press conference, Arteta added: “As an experience, [the Champions League was] the best one.

    “I am now fully focused on the times ahead of us. We are now behind Manchester City and will give it a good go. The context is clear. If we win we are top of the league.”

    Wolves sit 11th, though they could do with snapping a four-game winless streak in order to get their European hopes back on track.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Wolves – Matheus Cunha

    Cunha has been involved in nine goals in his last nine Premier League games, scoring six and assisting three. His 11 goals overall this season is the fourth most by a Wolves player in a single Premier League campaign after Raul Jimenez (17 in 2019-20, 13 in 2018-19) and Steven Fletcher (12 in 2011-12).

    Arsenal – Bukayo Saka

    Saka has been involved in eight goals in his last seven Premier League away games, scoring seven and assisting one. His 13 away goal involvements overall this term (eight goals, five assists) is the most by an Arsenal player in a single Premier League campaign since Alexis Sanchez’s 20 in 2016-17.

    MATCH PREDICTION: ARSENAL WIN

    Arsenal lost a Premier League game for the first time in 2024 against Villa last time out. Since the start of last season, only twice have the Gunners suffered consecutive league defeats, doing so in May 2023 (v Brighton and Nottingham Forest) and December this season (v West Ham and Fulham).

    Wolves are winless in their last four Premier League games (D2 L2), though they have won their last two at Molineux against sides starting the day in the top two of the table, beating Man City 2-1 in September and Spurs by the same score in November.

    Arsenal have scored in their last 32 meetings with Wolves in all competitions.

    Wolves have now lost each of their last five against the Gunners, failing to score in both home defeats in that run.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Wolves – 21.5%

    Arsenal – 51.2%

    Draw – 27.3%

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.