Chasing records kept city focused: Guardiola

Manchester City are eager to offer Raheem Sterling (right, with co-assistant coach Mikel Arteta) a new long-term contract after his most successful season, in which he has scored 23 goals in all competitions.
Manchester City are eager to offer Raheem Sterling (above, with co-assistant coach Mikel Arteta) a new long-term contract after his most successful season, in which he has scored 23 goals in all competitions.PHOTO: REUTERS

Champions' manager rules out wholesale post-season changes, ponders one or two signings

LONDON • Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola said the opportunity to chase down a host of records has kept the newly crowned Premier League champions focused in the final few weeks of the campaign.

City broke the Premier League points record by taking their season's tally to 97 with a 3-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion on Wednesday and victory over Southampton today will see them finish the campaign with a century.

They have also equalled the English top-flight record of 31 wins in a season and racked up a record 105 goals so far in 37 matches.

"In the last few weeks these numbers have helped us keep focus," Guardiola told a news conference.

"There are so many (special moments)... the 18 games won in a row is the reason we have won the league. That was the key point of the season."

He has ruled out making wholesale changes to the squad in the transfer window but said he would like to add "one or two more players" to offer more tactical solutions on the pitch.

"Maybe some are not happy, they want to play more and can ask to leave, but not too many," he added.

"We made a high investment last year because it was an old team - 10, 11 players more than 31 years old. Now we are going to change some details with Yaya (Toure) leaving, but not too many. One, maybe two (signings)."

The Spaniard confirmed he wants forwards Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling to stay at the club.

"Last season, I said maybe 1,000 times that Sergio will stay until he decides his time is over," Guardiola said.

The club are keen to hand Sterling a new long-term contract after his most successful season in the league in which has found the net 23 times in all competitions.

"The club, chairman and myself want him to stay a long time, renew his contract - but we are going on holiday in a few days," said Guardiola. "We all want him to stay as long as possible."

He was equally effusive about the impact new signing Bernardo Silva has had after joining from Monaco last summer. The Portuguese midfielder has scored nine times this term and has emerged as one of City's stars.

Guardiola said Silva has "amazing quality" and is an ideal fit for the way City play. He added: "When we sign a player, we never know for certain if it will work but I think we made it right.

"As long as I am a coach at Manchester City, he isn't going anywhere. Maybe he didn't play as much as we wanted to this season but he has been an amazing part of the team and the success here.

"I am really happy for his season and hopefully next season he will be even better."

REUTERS

SOUTHAMPTON V MAN CITY Singtel TV Ch106 & StarHub Ch231, tomorrow, 10pm

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 12, 2018, with the headline 'Chasing records kept city focused: Guardiola'. Print Edition | Subscribe