Pep Guardiola: My addiction to improving Man City made me stay

Head coach signed a new contract in November when many expected him to walk away

Andy Hampson
Friday 14 May 2021 09:12
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Pep Guardiola revealed why he decided to stay at Man City
Pep Guardiola revealed why he decided to stay at Man City

Pep Guardiola claims an addiction to constantly improving Manchester City prevented him from walking out on the club.

Guardiola is celebrating his eighth major trophy as City manager after his side were confirmed as Premier League champions for a third time in four years on Tuesday.

City also won the Carabao Cup for a fourth year in succession last month and will have a chance to add the Champions League crown when they face Chelsea in the final in a fortnight.

All this has come in a season which began with uncertainty over Guardiola’s future as he entered the final year of his contract.

In his fifth campaign at the club, the Spaniard had already stayed longer at the Etihad Stadium than in either of his previous jobs at Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

But he put an end to any speculation by signing a new deal in November and he admits the prospect of winning more silverware with the club was simply too good to give up.

He said: “It’s so addictive, winning is so nice. You do better, you laugh more, your relations become better. Everything is better, you’re with friends.

“It’s addictive and, after that, why should you stop when there’s still things to do? Why should we not try to improve and win again when still we can do it? Why should we not improve our gameplan, our game, if we can do it?

“I still see things in training and on the pitch I don’t like. We have to improve for the final.

“When you have the feeling it’s enough and the pleasure of winning the Premier League is not something special, it’s the time to say goodbye.

“But I still have this desire to win and the players still love to play football, so we are going to continue.”

City’s 2019-20 campaign was largely underwhelming and ended with a disappointing Champions League quarter-final loss to Lyon.

After a shortened summer break that prevented the club organising a significant pre-season programme, their start to the current term was also frustrating.

It was in the autumn that Guardiola decided to re-commit to the club, feeling he should repay the faith shown in him by chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak in the bad moments.

A deal was agreed with Guardiola signing until 2023 after talks between the pair in the Maldives.

“I saw that he trusted me,” said Guardiola, whose side face Newcastle on Friday. “I cannot assure him of success, nobody can, but I saw his eyes and the way we were with our families.

“I saw it and I trusted him and when that happens you have to do it.

“All the managers in the world, you can be sacked if you don’t win games but after what happened in my first season here - when we didn’t win anything - and the way they were, I could not say ‘no’.

“Some people say the history of this club did not start until 10 years ago. It started in the Second Division, with 35,000-40,000 people.

“Sheikh Mansour has taken it to another level. The history is the history, you have to defend this legacy that’s why, and I saw this in our conversations, I saw it in his eyes - he said it doesn’t matter what happens, we have to continue together.

“And we decided then ‘OK, we are going to stay longer’.”

PA

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