It’s safe to say that Manchester City are finally resembling a Pep Guardiola side, with investment in the full-back areas in particular improving the overall performances and consistency. The Blues have put fifteen goals past Liverpool, Feyenoord and Watford in the last three games, with goalkeeper Ederson barely tested and conceding none.
Speaking to the press, Pep has acknowledged that City have moved forward, while admitting that they were inferior to champions Chelsea and Tottenham last season.
“I think we’ve made a step forward in terms of last season.
“My feeling now is that everybody knows what we have to do, the players know what they have to do, with, without the ball in transition. And that’s so important.
“We weren’t good enough last season, Chelsea and Tottenham were better. You have to accept it.
“You have to accept sometimes the opposition is better. Then you analyse why to improve for the future.
“In an athlete’s career there are maybe 10 or 15 percent happiness moments, you lose more than you win. So you’ve got to enjoy it when you win.”
City invested over £120million in full-backs after Pep had to make do with four ageing players in a demanding position for his system last season. It soon became clear that Zabaleta, Sagna, Clichy and Kolarov just couldn’t meet the high standards Guardiola requires of his full-backs. And the Catalan coach acknowledged the importance of the position and the impact of the new arrivals.
“Even if it looks like we cannot improve, of course we can improve.
“There’s still movement, there are still actions we can improve.
“The full-backs are so important. They offer energy to go up and down so that means we can put more players in the middle, to play, to pass the short passes.
“I like it when we play short passes through the middle, five, six metres, that gives us continuity. We create the spaces behind the press.
“To do that you need more players in one position.
“And Kyle and Danilo and Mendy help us a lot to be able to do that. Without that it would be even more complicated.”