The Spanish tactician defended his team despite their recent poor run of form.
There was quite a movement at the top of the table in the Premier League in December, especially during the Christmas time as Liverpool went nine points clear at the top after thrashing Arsenal at Anfield and Tottenham too dropped points against the resurgent Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The Spurs had come into the view of the title race after a superb run of form which saw them tip Manchester City behind by a point to conquer the second place. However, an excellent comeback victory by the Wolves on Saturday overshadowed their Boxing Day mauling of Bournemouth.
As for City, it wasn’t a very good Christmas for them as they lost three of their last four games in the league. It all started for Pep Guardiola’s men when they slumped to their first defeat of the season to Chelsea at the Stamford Bridge early on. Even though they did fight back to win the three points against Everton in the following game, two back-to-back losses at Crystal Palace and Leicester City meant they had to drop down to third place at the festive time.
Yet, despite the poor results, Guardiola went on to defend his side saying, “We did well so far. We got 44 points in the first round. If you get the same number of points in the second round, that’s 88 points. With 88 points, you are champions. You have the numbers to be champions.”
“Most of the Premier League champions in the past 20 years won it with less points. We did quite well. We did really well,” he added.
“But of course you have the past two games, against Crystal Palace and Leicester, and you have that sense, because there are two teams there now who are better than us in the last month.”
“What can we say when Liverpool keep nine clean sheets and score a lot of goals? We cannot compete with that in terms of comparing with them,” said the 47-year-old.
The Spaniard was then asked whether he intended to change the tactical approach of the team but he laughed it out saying, “Oh, I was waiting for that question.”
“I was waiting for it later. That is not going to happen. It did not happen in the first year, it is not going to happen.”
“Why should I? Because I lost two games? No way. It is definitely not going to happen,” he stated.
The former Bayern Munich and Barcelona manager explained how hard work, belief, and confidence can help City to step back up again. He also insisted that his team cannot be ruled out of the race just yet and are well capable of defending the title.
“Football is unpredictable. You can lose two, and three, and four, five. That can happen. Tomorrow we can lose, then again against Liverpool and again in the FA Cup.”
“In my experience, when this happens it is for everyone to look in the mirror, and work harder, harder. After that, you win one or two, everyone is coming back, and everything becomes normal,” he added.
Speaking in context with their clash with Southampton on Sunday, Guardiola seemed pretty confident and focussed. “We look at ourselves, and tomorrow against Southampton, we have to do what we do, and try to win, and when that happens, everything comes back to a normal position.”