Pep Guardiola has promised that he will “definitely” do better next season but insists he has “enjoyed” his first year in charge of Manchester City.
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager won the league in his first season in charge of each of those clubs and he hit the ground running at City, going on a 10-game winning streak which saw them top the Premier League table in September.
However, inconsistencies and uncertainties about players’ futures have disrupted City’s campaign and leaving them fighting just to finish in the top four and the FA Cup as the only prospect of silverware this season.
One of the players whose future looks unsure is Sergio Aguero, after Guardiola dropped him earlier in the campaign, and the Spaniard admitted goalscoring has been a problem for his side this term and is something he will look to improve next year.
“I will be better – definitely,” he said. “This season was a lesson for me. It's normal when you have 7, 8, or 9 years as a manager to have a season where you don't have as much success as before. It can happen.
“You learn about that, you don't regret that I was not able knowing that our problems in the [penalty] boxes don't solve themselves. That is what I should do in advance to correct that but it is part of our growth.
“I never could imagine in Barcelona, Bayern or when I arrived here knowing absolutely everything. I tried to adapt the players as much as possible. I did it and I think we will be better.
“I feel like we're better now so that is a more interesting year for me as a manager to grow and handle this kind of situation. I didn't complain, I didn't give up.”
The Champions League is so important, [qualifying] will be a huge success from my point of view and of course we have the FA Cup. We still have a lot of things to do.”
A criticism of Guardiola’s side is their inability to beat the top teams this season, and in the nine games they’ve played against fellow members of the top six, they have only managed two wins – against Manchester United and Arsenal – compared to four defeats.
But Guardiola insists this isn’t the reason they’re not challenging for the title, instead citing home results against the league’s other teams as City’s biggest problem.
“I think in the big games it was not a big problem,” Guardiola added. “The problem was at home in the other games, that's the reason why we are here.
“You should analyse game by game, so for example Stoke City in the first half we were not able to create as much - but they didn't shoot one shot on target.
“In the second half, we created enough to win the game. And after, our defeat in Monaco, and in a row we had Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea - it's not easy.
“But in the results, when you make three points [from four games] it's not good enough to compete to win the Premier League.”