Past reputations count for nothing at Manchester City – Pep Guardiola

By Andy Hampson, PA
·3-min read

Pep Guardiola has warned his Manchester City players their past reputations count for nothing as he looks to kickstart their Premier League campaign.

The City boss insists current form is all that matters as he selects his side and he is not intending to rotate his squad.

City, one of the pre-season title favourites, made a sluggish start to the season but roared back to life as they thrashed Burnley 5-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

City hit form as they thrashed Burnley 5-0 on Saturday
City hit form as they thrashed Burnley 5-0 on Saturday (Laurence Griffiths/PA)

Now Guardiola wants to maintain the momentum.

He said: “So I see the performance, the levels. The guys who help the team, who help me, will have more chance to play.

“The others, they have to wait the opportunity. They have to fight and wait for the moment and when they have the moment, do it as well as possible.

“This business works in this way, not in another way. What happened one week ago is already over. It is past.

“Right now I see the players who are in the better conditions or more focused. If the players believe they are rested because I am rotating they are making a mistake. I put, every game, the best players to make rhythms, to help the team.

“The players who believe, because in the past they have been here, they deserve the next position, they have made a big mistake.

“The youngest player, Phil Foden, deserves the same opportunities as Fernandinho, our most experienced player. It does not matter if you have won more titles in the past or scored more goals.

“You have to show it on the pitch in the recent past, the present and especially the future.”

John Stones retained his place against Burnley
John Stones retained his place against Burnley (Martin Rickett/PA)

One player who might have seized his chance is defender John Stones, who appeared to have fallen down the pecking order after the summer signings of Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake.

Yet after a strong showing in the midweek Champions League win over Olympiacos, he retained his place against Burnley.

Guardiola said: “He was so concentrated and didn’t make mistakes. What we are looking for in the back four is to avoid mistakes and the people up front score goals.”

Guardiola concedes there is something special missing this season without fans.

He said: “Football was a joy when you play every three days like a routine, and the players come here and you have the spectators.

Guardiola feels some of the joy has been lacking this season
Guardiola feels some of the joy has been lacking this season (Rui Vieira/PA)

“They want to play, they love to play but before football was a special day. Now it is not special days any more.

“Of course they enjoy playing football but the joy for all the situation, because our lives, like all the families around the world – the people don’t go to restaurants, you can’t go out, you are scared about being contaminated in this pandemic situation – is different and football is no exception.”

Guardiola, speaking after City’s victory over Burnley, said he had “no news” on reports linking one of his assistants, Rodolfo Borrell, with the managerial vacancy at DC United.

He did, however, add his fellow Spaniard would be an “incredible manager”.