Football: Pep knows he isn't immune to the sack

Pep Guardiola shouting instructions to his Manchester City players during a match. The Spaniard, who won 21 trophies in seven years as a manager, admitted that he needs more time to adapt to the English game.
Pep Guardiola shouting instructions to his Manchester City players during a match. The Spaniard, who won 21 trophies in seven years as a manager, admitted that he needs more time to adapt to the English game.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

City manager admits he has to turn results around as he is expected to win immediately

LONDON • Pep Guardiola has admitted that he is not safe from the sack as he took responsibility on Tuesday for Manchester City's worrying slump.

In a frank admission before this morning's (Singapore time) home Premier League game against Watford, he agreed that City's run of four wins in 15 games in all competitions is not good enough.

The City manager said that he has started to doubt himself in recent weeks and confessed that it has taken him to adapt to the English game than he expected.

The two-time Champions League-winning manager insisted that he is fully committed to City. But there was an admission that his position could come under threat if results do not improve, even though City spent four years pursuing the Spaniard, who won 21 trophies in his seven-year management career.

"Football does not exist as a long project," Guardiola said. "You have to win immediately and, if you don't win, you are in trouble. The boss and the chairman are going to decide.

PEP WON'T SIDESTEP BLAME

I'm the main person to blame. The results we have had in the last month or so, they are not good enough for Manchester City. I have to accept that it is not going well.

PEP GUARDIOLA, Man City manager, taking responsibility for his side's form.

"I feel like they trust me, but the reality is that you have to win.

"When I came here, I knew I had to win immediately. It is unfair in many cases, but the big companies and the big businesses in the world, if something doesn't work, you have to find a solution."

But he will not give up.

"I'm not leaving... I achieved what I achieved because I am a fighter," he added.

His tenure began with a 10-match winning streak, but City, before this morning's match, were in fourth position, seven points adrift of leaders Chelsea.

"I'm the main person to blame," Guardiola said. "The results we have had in the last month or so, they are not good enough for Manchester City. I have to accept that it is not going well.

"I have enough energy to fight and if it doesn't go well, I say, 'Sorry guys, I was not able' and another guy is coming here," he said. "It is about many things... It is about our credentials as a team. We have to recover that as soon as possible and we are going to try."

Guardiola revealed that he did not speak to his squad straight after the 4-2 loss at Leicester City last Saturday, but said he had been "very critical" of his players in the dressing room at times this season, even after victories.

But his own performance has come under the spotlight in recent weeks. His constant rotation of the defence - he has not named the same back three or four in successive league games this season - has contributed to City's poor defensive record. They conceded 19 goals in 15 league matches.

For the first time in his career, Guardiola is starting to have doubts about his own methods.

"Yes, of course (I do)," he said. "When we lose, I think, 'What do we have to do?' But I believe in what I did in the past and I know we can do it here."

THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 15, 2016, with the headline 'Pep knows he isn't immune to the sack'. Print Edition | Subscribe