Ruthless Pep Guardiola is determined to keep Man City’s foot on the pedal in an ominous sign for the rest of the Premier League… as he orders his side to take nothing for granted against Chelsea

Pep Guardiola walked into the dressing room at around 10pm on Tuesday and thought the atmosphere felt too flat for his taste.

Manchester City had once again qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League and its players collectively shrugged their shoulders. Young Boys were comfortably dispatched, making it four wins from four. Routine.

“Please celebrate,” Guardiola told the team. “Because one day we might not be here anymore if we stop doing what we need to do.”

While this year’s group has been easier to motivate than in previous seasons, Guardiola’s speech, if any were needed, is more evidence that he refuses to take anything for granted. An achievement is still an achievement.

It is certainly worth celebrating that he has qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League in each of his campaigns. City only need to look at Manchester United to remind us that this should not be taken for granted.

Pep Guardiola urged his Manchester City side not to take anything for granted despite their recent successes

1699669914 93 Ruthless Pep Guardiola is determined to keep Man Citys foot

City reached the knockout stages of the Champions League on Tuesday by beating Young Boys 3-0

It can happen to any elite club, as Sunday’s opponents Chelsea know well, with Guardiola’s genius imposing the kind of standards that ensure City never become the butt of jokes. It’s part of what makes their continued presence at the top so ominous for the rest of this season — and probably some more.

After the sands shifted last weekend – with Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool all dropping points – there is already a premature rush to anoint them Premier League champions again as they chase a record fourth successive title.

It’s actually not that common for City to be top at this stage – ‘unexpected’, Guardiola said – and the manager has been surprised by the overall level of performance so far, barring a defeat to Wolves.

The Catalan was ‘curious’ to see how his side would react to winning the Treble, but he needn’t have worried. What he won’t do is take credit for that, even though he should. Chelsea’s demise in recent years serves as a warning, although the idea of ​​this happening on the east side of Manchester with the current setup seems unlikely.

“Absolutely, absolutely (a warning),” Guardiola said. “I’m not there, but we always remind ourselves. You can go down and the down never stops. You can go further and further down. That’s why we keep perspective. Be calm, relax.

‘The fact that we are called Manchester City and have been good in recent years does not mean that this will happen in the future. That doesn’t mean we’ll be good in ten years.’

It offers insight into City’s consistency and what Chelsea are aiming for. In the recruitment department, it can’t be a coincidence that Chelsea have signed Joe Shields and scout Stewart Thompson, both of whom had a significant impact on City’s transfer business with younger players.

A long time ago, City looked at Barcelona and took some good things from them. It’s just smart business.

Manchester City continued their good form last season, winning a Treble and taking them top of the table

Manchester City continued their good form last season, winning a Treble and taking them top of the table

1699669917 383 Ruthless Pep Guardiola is determined to keep Man Citys foot

They take on Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea on Sunday, who are aiming to reach the standards set by City

They then chose the manager to take the lead and have seen an unfathomably good return on that investment. Chelsea believe Mauricio Pochettino is their version and the tendency to target younger players – Cole Palmer and Romeo Lavia, both City graduates, are prime examples – suits their new boss.

The policy is not much different from that of Guardiola, who is now in his third incarnation at the Etihad Stadium.

“We are trying to get young players to make their careers in world football here,” the City manager said. ‘It is very important because it is also a financial issue.

“We would love to still have all the legends we had here, but time passes for everyone. With Josko (Gvardiol, 21) and Jeremy (Doku, 21), Oscar (Bobb, 20) and Rico Lewis (18) it is really important. Ultimately, we feel like they can be here and that has incredible value for us.”

Guardiola forgot to mention the 23-year-olds: Erling Haaland, Julian Alvarez and Phil Foden. Haaland took over from Sergio Aguero and Foden is the heir apparent to Kevin De Bruyne, whose return from hamstring surgery will not be rushed. It’s all seamless.

The main difference between the two clubs is that while the strategies are similar, Chelsea’s has accelerated so quickly that the feet could lose sight of where the brake is.

The match will see former City man Cole Palmer (right) take on his former side for the first time

The match will see former City man Cole Palmer (right) take on his former side for the first time

“City are showing that they dominate English football,” Pochettino said. ‘They deserve it. I don’t know if it’s good or bad. It’s reality.’

In the pleasantries that usually precede a game like this, Guardiola – who has beaten Pochettino 13 times in 22 meetings – sees signs of Chelsea’s revival.

“One of the strongest teams, there’s no doubt about that,” he said. “I see that in the last games they are alive, aggressive, have spirit and good patterns, so the quality is there. Sooner or later Chelsea will fight for the title.’

When that day finally arrives, City will be waiting at the top of the hill.


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