Football ‘punches you in the face’ says City boss Guardiola

Guardiola instructs his side in Spurs game on Thursday evening

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has warned his players that their title-winning experience alone won’t be enough to land them top spot in the Premier League ahead of current leaders Arsenal this season.

Defending champions City closed to within two points of the Gunners on Saturday when they eased to a 4-1 win over Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium thanks to goals from Julian Alvarez, Erling Haaland, Phil Foden and a Chris Mepham o.g.

The Cityzens are chasing what would be their fifth top flight title in seven years under Guardiola and having “been there and done that” under the Spanish tactician, City are still many observers’ pick to finish top of the pile in 2022/23.

Guardiola says “football can punch you in the face”

While the experience City’s squad has gathered from multiple title races is valuable, Guardiola was keen to emphasise that an advantage in that area won’t be enough to guarantee success on its own. Speaking in the aftermath of the club’s win at Bournemouth, the 52-year-old said:

“I would like to say yes (our experience will be an advantage) but I don’t know. That is the reality. Because every season is completely different.

“I put an example to my players about this kind of thing. In the Champions League final years ago, Milan v Liverpool (in 2005) when Liverpool made a good comeback. Milan in that period had the more experienced line-up – Maldini, Cafu, Gattuso, (manager) Carlo Ancelotti. And they lost.

“Football, when you think everything is under control and I know exactly what is going to happen, football punches you in the face and shows you the reality. This is the truth.”


Pep recalls City’s performance in Forest draw

City’s knowhow counted for little when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Nottingham Forest just days after toppling Arsenal 3-1 at The Emirates Stadium, though Pep Guardiola was pleased with his side’s display at the City Ground despite their disappointing result.

“After Nottingham we were sad because of how good we played,” said Guardiola.

“The performance was amazing. When I see what I’ve seen lately in the games, how we felt and how we tried to play, that made me feel we will fight until the end.

“I know how good is Arsenal so far, how good is United, Newcastle is still there. I’m thinking about Bristol (City in the FA Cup fifth round) now, it will be a tough game because my scout told me how seriously we have to take it.

“Then after Newcastle it’s Crystal Palace and the Champions League. At the end, we’ll see.”

Key fixtures on the horizon for City

City head to Ashton Gate on Tuesday evening to play Bristol City in the Fifth Round of the FA Cup, though their meeting with Newcastle in the Premier League at the weekend is already looming large.

After they’ve finished with the Magpies, City have a tricky test at Crystal Palace to overcome, before they host RB Leipzig in the Champions League with the tie on a knife-edge following the 1-1 draw between the teams in the Round of 16 first-leg in Germany.

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