If by some miracle, the officials would have blown the final whistle after 45 minutes in the match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur, Pep Guardiola would have turned into the Joker, running around the streets of Manchester causing unprecedented mayhem.
Fortunately for him, the second half was played and turned out to be better than expected. His team scored four times to put Spurs in the mud and completed an incredible comeback to close the gap on table toppers, Arsenal.
Erling Haaland, Julian Alvarez, and Riyad Mahrez were the architects of this victory. The will to win that was missing in the first half resurfaced in the following half, which we can only assume was because of Guardiola’s another fiery pep talk in the dressing room.
But how many such motivational speeches can Guardiola churn out? City has lately been conceding a lot of goals and has dropped points where they shouldn’t, like against Manchester United at Old Trafford last week.
This has infuriated Guardiola, who even after a memorable victory wasn’t happy. His frustration with his team was visible in the post match interview. He mentioned his team was completely out of touch and had no guile to contest. He precisely pointed out his team’s lack of energy and said they were lucky to have won the game.
Here’s a clip of the interview:
If you hear closely, Guardiola tells us all that is wrong with and around Manchester City at the moment. His opinions are hard-hitting, but unfortunately, poor performances deserve harsh words, especially when you have a winning monster like Man City.
Fans are not on City’s Side
At the end of the first half at the Etihad Stadium against Spurs, the echo of the boos from the home fans was deafening. The fans made sure that the team was aware of how badly they have performed so far. Guardiola didn’t like it. Not one bit.
“They booed because we were losing, but maybe it’s the same as our team. They are silent for 45 minutes. They booed because we were losing, not because we played badly. We played good, we had more chances, expected goals from Tottenham is 0.89 so we were better. After the goal, they react, but that’s not the point.”
Everyone’s Taking it Easy after Winning Multiple Trophies
Man City has been a winning machine. That is completely indisputable, but Guardiola admitted in the interview that the players and the fans have taken it for granted as if they believe they can win it at all times without playing with the same passion that led to their previous successes.
“Maybe we were so comfortable winning four Premier League in five years and that’s why we… you know. Everyone is so relaxed.”
No Fire in the Players to Win
This is the biggest issue that Guardiola highlighted during his interview. He repeatedly stated that the fire and the passion have gone out of the players. He wants his players to be on their toes, to play to win, and run hard, but lately, he’s been disappointed by them.
“We don’t have the fire inside and we don’t have to ask anything. I just explained the reality that everything is so comfortable. And the opponents don’t wait. Of course, I’m not [happy with my team]. I don’t recognize my team. My team always has passion and desire and run and everything. The Premier League doesn’t wait. We have the opening with Arsenal and they have the fire.”
Guardiola takes responsibility to put City back on the map
The Spaniard boldly accepted that he will ensure that City are back to its lethal self. He doesn’t want to be found sleeping on his promise to make City the champions once again.
“That is my duty, my job. I want my fans back, I want my fans here. Not my away fans, they are the best, but my fans here [at the Etihad]. The support for every corner and every action and support it.”
All that was said by Guardiola holds. He was brutally honest and direct in his statements, which we rarely get from a Pep Guardiola post-match interview. If City finds its groove soon, no one is safe, not even Arsenal who are dreaming of creating history.