Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola was furious with the fans for booing his side in their 3-1 defeat to Liverpool on Saturday.
Pep Guardiola is the new manager of Manchester City, and he’s already getting into a spat with supporters. He’s not happy with his attacking options, but that’s not what really upsets him.
Manchester City seem to be in good shape, but manager Pep Guardiola has the face of a guy who is worried that the ceiling may collapse at any minute. Last season’s Premier League winners have scored 17 goals in six games across all competitions, putting them three points behind championship challengers Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester United in the opening lap of the race.
Following Paris Saint-unexpected Germain’s 1-1 draw against Club Brugge, City took control of Group A with a 6-3 victory against RB Leipzig in the Champions League last week. City will have one foot in the knockout rounds before the autumn leaves have begun to fall if they win at Parc des Princes next week, five months after a 2-1 triumph in the first leg of last season’s semifinal in Paris.
Guardiola, on the other hand, is not happy with his team’s current position, which may be due to the trio of important games that they must play over the next 13 days. City’s inability to acquire Harry Kane or Cristiano Ronaldo to replace Sergio Aguero as their attack’s focal point may be ready to bite them.
After a Carabao Cup third-round encounter against League One side Wycombe Wanderers at home on Tuesday (stream LIVE on ESPN+ from 2.30 p.m. ET), City will play three away games that will define their season.
The trip to Chelsea in the Premier League on Saturday will be followed by the match against PSG three days later. After that, on Oct. 3, they go to Anfield to resume their battle with Jurgen Klopp’s in-form side.
City are more than capable of winning all three of those games and putting an end to the pessimism that has started to spread since Guardiola ignited a fuse by emphasizing the need for more fans to get behind his club after 38,062 attended the Leipzig match. The 0-0 stalemate against Southampton at home on Saturday drew 52,698 spectators, but the final score, after City had just one shot on target, further added to Guardiola’s anger.
“I always feel terrible when the game isn’t excellent,” Guardiola remarked after the loss. “[The fans] are there to watch a performance or a game. I feel a little bad if it doesn’t happen because we didn’t play well.”
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Guardiola has stated publicly that the absence of Kane and Ronaldo has had no impact on his team’s ability to score goals and win games, but most football managers are astute when it comes to picking their battles, and the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach is not naive enough to blame City’s owners for failing to deliver the center-forward his team so desperately requires.
Jose Mourinho is an exception in this regard. He has often complained about poor recruiting at past teams, with the ultimate consequence being that he has always left the club very shortly after. Others, like Klopp or Sir Alex Ferguson during his time at United, direct their rage or frustration towards referees or opponents, understanding that going after owners or players is a recipe for disaster.
Shaka Hislop talks after Man City drew 0-0 with Southampton with just one attempt on target.
Guardiola exploited City’s fan base as a scapegoat for his frustrations and maybe even concerns about the future. Over the next two weeks, his crew will be put to the ultimate test of their credentials, and they are not prepared.
Last season, City came from mid-table to win the championship, winning by a 12-point margin, but the competition is much tougher this time around, and Guardiola knows his team cannot allow Chelsea, Liverpool, or United to pull away. City would be six points behind Thomas Tuchel’s squad if they lost at Stamford Bridge this weekend, adding to the pressure ahead of the trip to Anfield, but Guardiola has no apparent answer to his centre-forward issue.
Kevin De Bruyne is failed to score this season as he returns from a problematic ankle injury. Raheem Sterling, who began as a false No. 9 against Southampton, has just two goals in his last 22 games in all competitions. Gabriel Jesus, the team’s sole recognized striker, has scored twice in six games this season, the same as Ferran Torres, despite Torres’ preference for the No. 9 position.
Since rejecting City to return to Old Trafford from Juventus last month, Ronaldo has shown the real worth of a goal scorer by scoring three goals in two league games for United. And Romelu Lukaku’s three goals in four games for Chelsea are a major reason for the club’s current Premier League dominance. With four goals in his first five games for Liverpool, Mohamed Salah has shown why he is probably the league’s most dependable and regular striker.
City does not have a Cristiano Ronaldo, Romelu Lukaku, or Mohamed Salah. Of course, they have plenty of offensive danger, but every great club needs a player who can score at least 20 league goals in a season, and Guardiola knows he doesn’t have one. Rather than vent his frustrations in public, he has opted to vent his frustrations by singling out the club’s fans.
Guardiola’s mood may alter over time, but you can guarantee that the results of City’s next three away games will have a significant impact on his attitude.
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