Change style of play? I'd rather go home: Pep

LONDON • Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says he would rather quit than change his football philosophy.

The English club have gone four matches in all competitions without a win and head into today's Premier League clash at home to Southampton on the back of a 4-0 thrashing at Barcelona in the Champions League.

It was suggested to the Spaniard this week that he might consider a more pragmatic approach to games in the future, given City's recent run.

But the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager insisted he would remain true to his attacking principles and style of play that requires his goalkeeper and defenders to play the ball out from the back.

"No, no, I'm not going to change," Guardiola said.

"If it's not going well in the future I will go home. I won 21 titles in seven years. So it's three titles per year playing that way.

"The way we want to play, the way the academy play for a long time, is the way I think is good. I'm sorry, in the past it was going well until two weeks or three weeks ago."

City will be without right-back Pablo Zabaleta, who suffered a knock against Barca, today, while fellow defender Bacary Sagna remains out with a hamstring injury.

Guardiola also revealed that City captain Vincent Kompany has been mentally scarred by the injury problems he has suffered over the past two seasons.

The Belgium international, 30, was left out of City's squad for the loss to Barca but is expected to be available to face Southampton.

"I thought a few weeks ago maybe Vincent can come back now with his personality," Guardiola said.

"But one day after the training session, he said, I didn't feel like this'.

"At this moment his head is not ready after what happened the last two years to keep him out."

Southampton travel to Manchester on the back of an unlucky 1-0 defeat at Inter Milan in the Europa League on Thursday, but with excellent Premier League form, including a four-game unbeaten run which has taken them up to eighth in the table.

Saints boss Claude Puel will be without Shane Long because of a hamstring injury, and with Matt Targett, Ryan Bertrand and Cedric Soares also in doubt.

Jay Rodriguez, who is looking to re-establish himself after a difficult time with injuries, could benefit from Long's absence.

The former Burnley striker, who has managed only 67 starts in 41/2 years at Southampton, played against Inter.

"I felt great and I just want more and more of it," he said. "I'm sure the goals will come, I just need to keep persisting to be on the field."



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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 23, 2016, with the headline 'Change style of play? I'd rather go home: Pep'. Print Edition | Subscribe