Jump directly to the content

News Corp is a network of leading companies in the worlds of diversified media, news, education, and information services.

DREAM TEAM

Your Sun

A News UK Company
TOP
HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM

Pep Guardiola reveals the one game he’s been using as motivation for Man City’s record-breaking run

Spaniard's wise words kick-started a record-breaking run which will extend to 19 straight league wins if they beat Crystal Palace

The site of the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history was also where Man City’s amazing run started.

In July, Houston’s NRG Stadium was the unlikely venue where Pep Guardiola lit the spark that has seen them go half the Premier League season unbeaten.

Pre-season heartbreak

Getty - Contributor
5
Pre-season heartbreak

In the away dressing room, usually home to the opponents of Houston Texans, City boss Guardiola dished out a pre-season rollicking that resonated deeply with his squad.

His side, who laboured to a third-place Prem finish after his first season in charge, had just been beaten 2-0 by Man United in the first ever foreign Manchester derby.

It was only a friendly but Guardiola saw something he did not like, according to Kevin De Bruyne.

Smart casual

AP:Associated Press
5
Smart casual

The Belgian midfielder: “After we lost to United, the manager told us we need the feeling to win every game and from that moment on that’s what we’ve tried to do.

“We take it game by game and try to win each one but mentally that is tough and can be draining.

“When everything is going well, there are occasions when you want to take things a little more easily — but we can’t afford to take our foot off the gas.”

Lukaku nipped in ahead of Ederson to score in Houston but both players’ form has reversed in more recent times

AP:Associated Press
5
Lukaku nipped in ahead of Ederson to score in Houston but both players’ form has reversed in more recent times

The defeat to United in pre-season saw doubts emerge over new keeper Ederson after a rash decision let Romelu Lukaku score.

But the Brazilian has not put a glove wrong since.

If they win at Crystal Palace today, the 19 straight Premier League wins will match Pep’s record with Bayern Munich in the 2013/14 Bundesliga season.

And it all started when Guardiola took his team to America on a whistle-stop tour.

They spent five days in Los Angeles and travelled to matches but the Spaniard wanted the trip as short as possible to get back to the Etihad Campus to prepare for the campaign.

Guardiola said: “The games against Tottenham and Madrid, when we won 3-0 and 4-1, they were good.

Raheem Sterling helped fire Manchester City 15 points clear at the top of the Premier League with victory at Newcastle

Reuters
5
City have been unstoppable

“Especially against Madrid when they played with eight or nine players who won the Champions League a couple of months earlier.
“We were able to say ‘Wow, we can compete against them’.

“The players have to be themselves on the pitch against top teams and think we can compete against them. Of course, it was pre-season and nothing counts but there we started to see that we can build something.

“And give continuity from the first season. The way we trained and the ideas we tried on and off the pitch, the way we want to live and how we want to be between each other — that was the same from the first day.”

Pep Guardiola praised coach Mikel Arteta for his work with Raheem Sterling this season

Reuters
5
Mikel Arteta has been a good addition to the coaching staff

But the tour to America for the International Champions Cup had a different atmosphere.

Ederson and Bernardo Silva signed early in the window, Kyle Walker arrived in time to tour, while Benjamin Mendy and Danilo were signed while the club were Stateside.

It gave Guardiola more time to work with his entire squad — more than his title rivals.

The former Barcelona and Bayern gaffer said: “The players who play regularly are exceptional human beings and you cannot create something when people who are not playing regularly are creating problems.

“Bad faces, bad behaviour from the guys who aren’t playing — when that happens, forget it.

“You cannot stay there. But the guys who didn’t play regularly and are now playing more, they are exceptional. Without that, you can’t do it.

“The important thing is that we adjusted, we had new players with new energy and faces and enthusiasm.”


PLAY DREAM TEAM WEEKENDER Pick seven players to win 10k!