Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has admitted that he needs to change the mindset of his players and make them fear losing, reports in the Mirror claim.
Despite sitting inside the Premier League top four and with an FA Cup semi-final tie at Wembley coming up this weekend, Guardiola confessed his squad needs work ahead of next season.
The Spaniard spent £150 million on the likes of John Stones and Ilkay Gundogan in his first summer at the Etihad, and has acknowledged that his side haven’t reached their full potential this year.
Speaking yesterday, Guardiola said:
“Do the players believe they cannot lose? In that sense we need time to put that belief in the heads and hearts of the players.
“If you want to become a stronger club and stronger team you cannot drop points at home. Because of our quality, we must demand more. The difference is the mentality, not the quality of the players, which is always there.
“We went out of the Champions League in Monaco and then we played three tough games – against Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea – and did not win one of those games.”
City currently sit two points behind third-placed Liverpool with a game in hand and a further four points ahead of fierce rivals Manchester United – although they have a game in hand over the Citizens.
The Mirror have also reported that Manchester City missed out on the chance to sign Juventus superstar Paulo Dybala a few years ago – instead opting to sign flop Wilfried Bony.
The report alleges that the Argentine forward sent a desperate plea to the Manchester side when he was set to leave Palermo, but boss at the time Manuel Pellegrini opted for Bony’s firepower instead.
Bony – now on a season-long loan at fellow Premier League side Stoke City – managed six goals in 36 appearances after arriving from Swansea in 2015 but failed to stake a claim for a regular role.
By contrast, Dybala – who only cost £2 million more than Bony’s transfer fee of £28 million – has been outstanding during his development at Juventus, scoring 39 goals in just 80 matches since his arrival in Turin, and he scored a sublime brace as the Serie A side swept aside Barcelona last week in Europe.
Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola has dropped hints about his starting eleven for this Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final tie with Arsenal according to reports in the Manchester Evening News.
The City manager hinted that captain Vincent Kompany – scorer of the opening goal in the 3-0 win over Southampton last weekend – will be fit to start consecutive matches for the first time this year.
Speaking to the local outlet, he said:
“Hopefully he can be fit, we are going to see.
“We are going to see how they played against us two weeks ago, what he can do, to make something new and to suppress him a little bit and of course to achieve the final.”
The Spaniard also dropped a hint over his goalkeeping selection for the date at Wembley, with Willy Caballero looking the likely candidate to return to the side.
“I have two fantastic guys, two fantastic goalkeepers, with Willy and Claudio.
“I do not know which goalkeeper will play next Sunday because I trust a lot in both – maybe two games and then two games.”
With Claudio Bravo starting the last two Premier League matches, it appears that Guardiola could revert back to Cabellero – the goalkeeper he used in cup competitions at the beginning of the season.
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