Manchester City must use last season as inspiration, says Pep Guardiola

Manchester City must use last season as inspiration, says Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola believes he is close to implanting the ideal culture at Manchester City and says the key to a “magnificent” follow-up to last season’s record title triumph is not to forget it but to remember precisely how that was achieved.

Guardiola takes his team to Arsenal for Sunday’s late game, as City set out in defence of the title they won with a 19-point margin over second-placed Manchester United. As he prepared to head back to London the Catalan cited the 2-0 Community Shield victory over Chelsea at Wembley as evidence of the focus with which his players have started the campaign.

Despite last Sunday’s competition being of secondary status Guardiola spoke to his side beforehand of the need to win it – something no Premier League champion team had managed since 2013. Asked if the response showed he has created the ideal culture, the 46-year-old said: “Yes, of course – that’s the dream. A win helps to win more. You don’t choose titles and it [the Community Shield] was a final and we spoke about that.

“A final you have to try to win it and we prepared for it like it was a game in April, May. The players know the coaching staff work a lot and I have spoken many times with them. I work a lot and I am good at this. I am not a special guy but I am so good at working, working, working a lot and they have to work too. And we saw it there.”

Guardiola believes the culture will help the team at difficult points this season. “Of course we will have bad moments but, at a club where you win titles, winning another one helps for the future,” he said. “It is impossible to have a season that is perfect. We will have bad moments and we will have to work to overcome them because in the end the players react to what the club is, what the manager and the staff are and, of course, they know we work for them.”

Guardiola believes recalling how well City performed last season will aid them going forward. “The most magnificent thing for us is to look at what we do. The others will be there, yes, and this weekend Arsenal will be completely different from Huddersfield.” Town visit the Etihad a week on Sunday.

“The important thing is to be there and to be ourselves. It’s not winning back to back, it’s to be ourselves. People say now we have to forget what we did last season. No way. I don’t want to forget what we have done last season. I know exactly what we did to achieve that and that is where we start from.

“That’s the basic principle. Now, when I say something to them, they know exactly what we have to do.”

Guardiola does not believe it will be easy, though. He said: “We can do our job, yes, but maybe Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea can do their job better and win. But if we do our job, we will be there. We were the best last season, definitely, there is no doubt about it.

“Now we start again. That’s why it is special. It’s a new challenge. That’s why we stay here. The moment I am not hungry I am leaving, the moment the players are not hungry any more they are going to move on. That’s the point.”

No club has retained the title since Manchester United in 2008-09. “Of course we accept the challenge to win it back to back but to be ourselves is the main thing we have to do,” Guardiola said.

“Forget how much Liverpool have spent because they may have spent a lot but last season they were a good team as well. Maybe Tottenham could not spend because of the stadium but there is Chelsea with Jorginho, Kovacic and Kanté in the middle, and Hazard, Willian, Pedro and Morata up front so you cannot say they are not contenders to win.

“Or Manchester United. People ask how will they do, but I know a little bit about the manager and in that situation how good they handle that. Arsenal are other contenders too. That’s why it is nice.”

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