Pep Guardiola has taken responsibility for Manchester City’s struggles this season and asked for patience as he tries to adapt his ideas to English football.
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss said he has had to change his way of thinking to include smaller pitches and aggressive opponents. But he is hopeful that having made those mistakes he can learn from them.
“Sometimes I have an idea: three at the back or play a player like this. And sometimes it didn’t work and when that happens it is always the manager and I never complain to the players,” he said after the 5-0 FA Cup third round win against West Ham on Friday.
“Because when I see them training, how they suffer and what they did in the last game against Burnley after 65, 70 minutes with 10 against 11, two days later after Anfield. They want to do that.
“You have to look at yourself and see what [you] have to do to help them find each other and play to each other more fluently, not all the time with [aggression] and all these kind of things. That is my job. I have to help them. And I tell them. And most of the times we were not good, it was my responsibility.”
City suffered a slump in form that saw them fall adrift of Chelsea in the Premier League title race, but have recovered recently with five wins from their last six games in all competitions.
He added: “It’s the only way. We made in the first part of the season some really, really good games and good performances. But the moment we felt mistakes, especially in defence — own goal in [the 2-0 defeat by Tottenham at] White Hart Lane, our miss [3-3 Champions League draw] at Celtic in Glasgow — we lost a little bit our confidence to play.
“And at times my ideas were not good, because I’m still in the process to know the players, to know what is the best position, the best way to play, to adapt to them. But through the control of the game, through the passes, was the beginning and [against West Ham] — and we have to try.
“It’s not always possible because the opponents are playing too and they are so aggressive and it’s not easy to do that. But that is what I think we have to try to do, through the passes, through the multi, multi, multi passes, the situation comes along. When that happens you concede few. [But] when the ball is up and down, any team in the Premier League is better than us — much, much better.”