Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City’s recent wobble may prove beneficial in helping the whole club refocus following last season’s success.
City landed the Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup treble in 2022/23, sweeping all before them, but have suffered an uncharacteristic dip in form over the past month, failing to win in four Premier League games.
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Guardiola’s men slipped to fourth in the table following Wednesday night’s 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa but he says it is not necessarily a bad thing for their ambitions this term.
Speaking ahead of Sunday’s trip to Luton, he said: “For everyone at the club, it’s a good thing that we are living, it is necessary.
“For a long time, we have looked at how good we are. Maybe we need this to say ‘guys, this is business, it’s terrible, we are not able to win one game.
“For myself first, maybe I need that challenge to prove I am a good manager to help the players overcome this challenge. And for the players it’s a good challenge, for them to say ‘my God, Aston Villa were much better than us’.
“And even the club, the whole organisation, we can be out of the Champions League next season. We need to work hard after what has happened over the last few years.
“As soon as we realise it, we will come out of it quicker. Otherwise nothing will change. We are in December, we have a lot of games to play, a lot of exciting things ahead of us, we need to embrace it.
“With that in mind say ‘okay, let’s work’. The club needs it. We need a shake, bad results can help that.”
PEP 💬 We’re in December, not even finished the first leg, we still have a lot of games to play… there are many exciting things ahead of us that we have to embrace. With that in mind say ‘okay, let’s work’. The Club needs it. We need a shake, bad results can help that. pic.twitter.com/tnb3UZ3Lta
— Manchester City (@ManCity) December 8, 2023
City jet off to Saudi Arabia for the Club World Cup before Christmas but Guardiola accepts his side cannot currently be labelled the world’s best.
He added: “At the moment we are not the best team in the world because we are not getting results. We were [the best] in Europe [after winning the Champions League last season] and in the world we will see in two to three weeks. But that’s not important. What’s important is to come back to playing at our level that we had two weeks ago.
“Against Villa, they were better than us and they deserved the victory for the way they played. We were not far away and we were at a good level. A good result [at Luton] will help us and the next two games are so important before we go to Saudi Arabia.”
City have not won in the Premier League since November 4 but Guardiola feels the quality of the opposition they have faced over that period, with games against Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and Villa, should be taken into account.
He added: “When you are winning games you are the best team in the world. When you don’t win it’s a crisis. It’s important to face the reality. We are not used to not winning four games in a row but we have played top teams. They were tight games. In some we played well, in others not so. It is what it is.
“It’s not the first time we’ve been in this position. Every season we have a spell where we don’t get results, it happens.
“Do you know how much we struggled to do the treble last season with all the injuries we had? That’s why we give credit for the treble. People around the corner say it was easy.
“The team we have now, right before the Wolves game, was one game away from having the best start ever at this club. At the international break, we were top of the league – not two seasons ago. Then we faced Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and Villa, top teams, it can happen.”