Rodri goads Arsenal over crucial title race mistake: ‘They just wanted to draw’

The Spanish midfielder took aim at City’s title rivals over their ambition when facing off at the Etihad earlier this season

Jack Rathborn
Monday 20 May 2024 08:58 BST
Jack Grealish suffers embarrassing moment celebrating Man City's win

Rodri insists Manchester City beat out Arsenal in the Premier League title due to their superior “mentality”, while criticising Mikel Arteta’s side for their lack of ambition when facing off at the Etihad Stadium.

The Spanish midfielder clinched victory for the champions against West Ham on Sunday to secure a fourth-successive title and finish two points clear of the Gunners.

And Rodri explained how City’s “mentality” proved decisive in a gripping title race against Arsenal following the goalless draw in March, though Arteta maintains his side will come again after falling agonisingly short.

“To be honest, I think it’s in here,” Rodri told Optus Sport while pointing to his head. “It’s the mentality.

“Arsenal, also they deserve [to win the league], they did an unbelievable season, but I think the difference was in here [pointing to his head again].

“When they came here, they faced us at the Etihad, I saw them and said: ‘Ah, these guys, they don’t want to beat us, they just want a draw.’

“And that mentality, I don’t think we would do it the same way.

“And we caught them. At the end, if you give us one point, we will win the last seven, eight games even though it’s so tough. So I think it comes down to mentality.”

Pep Guardiola, meanwhile, has hinted he could extend his contract at Manchester City but also cast doubt on his future as he described himself as “closer to leaving” the club.

(Action Images via Reuters)

He said: “I had that season last year after [the Champions League final in] Istanbul, I said: ‘It’s over, there’s nothing left.’ But I have a contract, I’m still here.

“Some of the moments I’m a bit tired but some of the moments I love and we are here winning games, looking good with new players. I start to think about no-one has done four in a row, why don’t we try?

“And now I feel it’s done, so what next? FA Cup. Gary Lineker told me that no team has done back-to-back Premier Leagues and FA Cups.

“Right now, I don’t know what exactly the motivation is to do it because it’s difficult to find it when everything is done. But knowing the players and myself I know that when we are there, we will say ‘why should we not win today? Why should we not work as much as possible to do what we have to do?’ And I know we are going to do it.”

Guardiola said he is nearer to the end of his reign than the start, explaining: “The reality is I am closer to leaving than staying. We have talked with the club – my feeling is that I want to stay now. I will stay next season and during the season we will talk. But eight or nine years – we will see. I didn’t expect to stay eight or nine years. I expected three, four or five but not much. I cannot believe it. It’s the Premier League. It’s the toughest one.”

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in