Guardiola says rivals want Man City to fail ‘more than ever’
LONDON, United Kingdom, (AFP) — Pep Guardiola believes many people now want Manchester City to fail “more than ever” after the club won their fifth trophy of an outstanding year.
City return to English domestic action at Everton on Wednesday after adding the Club World Cup with a 4-0 thrashing of Brazilian side Fluminense in Saudi Arabia to their trophy cabinet, having already lifted the Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup and European Super Cup in 2023.
No club in English football history has enjoyed such a successful year, although Guardiola win six trophies when in charge of Barcelona in 2009 when the Catalan side won La Liga, Copa del Rey, Spanish Super Cup, European Super Cup, Champions League and Club World Cup titles.
“It is a business, you get credit when you win,” City manager Guardiola said ahead of his side’s trip to Goodison Park. “You don’t win you are nothing, zero, what you have done in the past.”
The Spaniard added: “As much as you win, they want you to fail. More than ever. I felt than when we won the sextuple in Barcelona.
“It’s normal. They don’t want (us to win). In these 14-15 years what we have won, the titles, is unbelievable.
“People say ‘how good they play, how genius it is’. But they give credit just because we win. They don’t have to look further than that.”
City’s victory over Fluminense gave the Manchester side their first Club World Cup and capped a productive five days in Saudi Arabia that manager Guardiola said had “created incredible team building and team spirit”.
It was all in marked contrast to their recent Premier League form, wih a run of just one win in six games leaving City fifth in the table, six points behind leaders Arsenal.
“In the moment you don’t win you are going to get doubts, absolutely everything,” said Guardiola. “But that is what is nice. That is OK. Doubt again, we’ll see what happens.
“I said before when we played incredibly well against Crystal Palace, Liverpool and Tottenham and don’t win.
“It’s a real proof they don’t care the way we play. We played the best levels quite similar to these (past) eight years and we don’t win. It’s a ‘disaster and crisis’.
“Of course we have bad moments like Aston Villa, who were better. But what’s the problem?
“They can play better so we have to accept it and move forward. The reality is we are happy, but they are waiting for us around the corner (to fail).”
But Guardiola, who spent Christmas with his family in Barcelona, insisted his focus now was firmly on Everton.
“Nothing else exists than Goodison Park,” he said. “The greatest athletes forget as quick as possible the success. They celebrate it, but around the corner is another competition.”
City are hoping Rodri will be after the Spain midfielder suffered an ankle injury against Fluminense, but they have doubts over the fitness of Erling Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne and Jeremy Doku.