Pep Guardiola would not swap any of his Man City side for anyone else

Andy Hampson, PA
·3-min read

Pep Guardiola claims he would not swap any of his Manchester City side for a world-beater such as Lionel Messi or Neymar amid their current run.

City are in formidable form having won their last 16 matches in all competitions – a record for an English top-flight side – and gone 23 unbeaten overall.

Manager Guardiola claims the team’s success is down to their collective strength.

Ilkay Gunodgan scored twice as Manchester City beat Tottenham 3-0 for a 16th successive win on Saturday
Ilkay Gunodgan scored twice as Manchester City beat Tottenham 3-0 for a 16th successive win on Saturday (Rui Vieira/PA)

“We don’t have players who can win the game by himself,” Guardiola said after the Premier League leaders’ 3-0 win over Tottenham on Saturday. “We don’t have a Messi, a Cristiano (Ronaldo), (Kylian) Mbappe or Neymar. We have to do it as a team.”

That does not mean Guardiola would not ever like to work with such players but, right now, he would not parachute anybody into a squad high in confidence after turning their season around.

City made an indifferent start to the campaign, dropping points in five of their opening eight games, but the way they have built momentum since looks ominous for their rivals.

“I will be honest,” said the City boss, whose side are also still in three knockout competitions. “I’d like to have a player to score, every single game, four goals and run like these players can run. I would love it.

“But I will not change any player we have right now, this season. All of them have shown up in the bad moments.

“In the good moments everyone finds it easy to play but, in the big teams, the big players show it in the bad moments. We’ve had bad moments this season. We had a moment we were 12th in the table, we were five points away from Tottenham.

“They were top of the league when we lost there. Now we are 17 points in front of them.

“That means how consistent we have been, how we have turned over the situation. That means a lot.”

City last failed to win when they were held to a frustrating draw at struggling West Brom on December 15.

Guardiola says his players needed to run less in games
Guardiola says his players needed to run less in games (Shaun Botterill/PA)

Guardiola claims the secret to the upturn in results since has not been to order his players to run more – but to run less.

“It’s not new,” the Spaniard said. “What we’ve done is the same we did last season, two seasons ago, three seasons ago.

“Before West Brom we had incredible chances but I was not identifying with the way I like to watch my team. We moved a lot and ran a lot and this is a big mistake.

“I told the players to stay calm and wait for the ball to come to where you want. Since then the victories have helped us be more confident but we came back to what we were in previous seasons – don’t move much, let the ball move, stay in position and try to build something.

“The results and the quality and the players did the rest.”