Thursday 2 February 2023 Dublin: 10°C
# Pep Talk
Guardiola: I love my players and their mistakes are my fault
The Catalan insists it is his tactical instructions that have been to blame when City have committed errors.

PEP GUARDIOLA SAYS he “loves” his Manchester City players and insists he is to blame for any mistakes they have made in recent weeks.

Guardiola was in talkative mood at his Thursday press conference as he moved to explain his recent comments about retirement and the size of his current club in relation to Europe’s biggest sides.

He also spoke about the demands he places on his players and how he is slowly but surely changing City’s playing style.

The former Bayern Munich and Barcelona boss remains keen to bring new defenders to the club, whether in January or in the summer, and is ready to let six players – Willy Caballero, Pablo Zabaleta, Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna, Jesus Navas and Yaya Toure – leave on free transfers when their deals expire at the end of the season.

The Catalan has also changed to a more traditional back four in recent weeks following the heavy defeat to Leicester City, and says he has “adapted to the quality” of his players, a suggestion that he has admitted he cannot play his preferred style of football with his current squad.

But he insists that he is thrilled with the players at his disposal, and that his instructions have been to blame when City are not playing well.

“I think all the managers has to be so demanding,” he said. “Playing every few days, the natural thing for the players is to be relaxed, [you have] to be there to say you have to do it again and again and again.

“What I feel now, when I saw in the last few games, every time the situation is not going well, it’s my fault, not the fault of the players. That is my feeling now. What I saw in the last game against Burnley and the behaviour, for example, of Liverpool and so on, it’s maybe more my regret than the regret of the players.

“The players have been amazing, they have been exceptional, in this season we have changed many things about the way we’re going to play. It was a special moment what happened after Burnley, when I saw my team, how they fought in such difficult circumstances, and how they reacted. It was so emotional for me as a coach, so when I say to them I love them, it’s because really I love them.”

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