Pep Guardiola hopes the successes of the past week help him convince his Manchester City players they can win this season’s crunch games.
City thrashed a 10-man Liverpool side 5-0 last Saturday before opening their Champions League campaign with a 4-0 rout of Feyenoord in Rotterdam.
City struggled against their top-six rivals last term and consequently failed to sustain a title challenge. On top of that they were unable to win away in the Champions League – play-off round aside – and crashed out at the last-16 stage.
“Of course I am so satisfied,” Guardiola said. “Of course, with 11 against 11 against Liverpool the game was equal. Eleven against 10 was much better but sometimes it’s not easy to play 11 against 10, and we did it so well.
“People maybe thought it was easy to win in Feyenoord but going away in Europe is always so complicated. They didn’t have one chance and that’s so, so important.
“We did very good things but my feeling is the way we play we can improve (and it is about) trying to convince them that they are able to do that.
“Last season we were not able to win many games against the top five, top six in the Premier League. We didn’t win one game away in the Champions League.
“First of all I start with that, to believe. To believe we can play good football and also that we can beat them and we can compete, even in the Champions League.
“That is the best I can offer or what I would like to give to my players, more than tactical issues.”
Guardiola insists this does not mean his players lacked belief previously, but it is important to build on what they have.
He said: “I think every player believes but sometimes in a bad situation or moment we were not able to overcome the situation. You have to do that.
“You have to have a strong mentality so when you see the players they have the personality to play on the big stages.”
Guardiola, whose side travel to Watford on Saturday, has also urged his players not to step out of line with regards to their use of social media.
The Spaniard insists he has always been happy for players to communicate in this way, suggesting past reports of a ban may have been exaggerated.
However, he has urged a sensible approach.
Earlier this season defender Benjamin Mendy, one of the club’s more frequent tweeters, wrote “bullet header” after Brighton’s Lewis Dunk scored an own goal in a game against City.
Guardiola said: “I don’t want to see disrespect for team-mates, the opposition, the club, for the fans, for the issues happening in the world. That I don’t want to see from my players and we spoke about that.
“Of course, everybody is free. I’m not a guy to say ‘ban that, ban that’. They are adults, some of them are fathers. But, respect, be careful what you write.”
Published at Fri, 15 Sep 2017 22:53:57 +0000