Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has questioned his players’ aspirations after beating Tottenham 4-2 and said Arsenal would “destroy” them in the Premier League title race if they continued playing like this.
City had to make a save against the Spurs at halftime, 2-0 down, to keep their hopes of winning and defending their title alive.
Dejan Kulusevski and Emerson Royal’s quick goals just before the break gave the visitors an unexpected lead, but Guardiola’s men responded with a stunt double by Julian Alvarez, Erling Haaland and Riyad Mahrez.
While Guardiola is happy with the win, he said his team is the shadow of the team that has dominated the Premier League in recent seasons and that players cannot continue to play like this if they want success.
Guardiola said: “We are a long way from the team we had last seasons. “Do you think this comeback will happen every time? It won’t happen.
“How can I get the fire back? This is my job, my job. I want my fans back. I don’t know my team. I’m not going to tell you what I said.
I want a reaction for the whole club, the whole organisation, the players, the staff, everyone.
“We are a happy flower team. I don’t want to be happy flowers, I want to beat Arsenal but if we play like this Arsenal will destroy us, they will beat us. I want to see my team.
“The players want it, they train really well, but there’s something in the clouds here that you can’t express.
“I see Arsenal games and they’re doing everything well, so they’re ahead and they deserve it.
“And I say that after 4-2. I’m incredibly happy, I’m going to sleep like a baby tonight.
“I have experience. I’ve gained a lot. It means that every day I see things that you couldn’t see because you weren’t there.
“I got it. Not a single player, everyone is there. Everyone, we’ll be back as we get it.”
The Spurs’ defeat was another blow to their Champions League qualifier hopes as they suffered a third loss in four games.
Their boss, Antonio Conte, recurring throughout much of last season seemed to cast doubt on his long-term future at the club.
Having witnessed the deaths of three of his close friends in recent months, the Italian’s contract expires in the summer and a new deal does not seem imminent.
“Of course, it’s a difficult season from a personal point of view, but that doesn’t matter anymore.
“This is my personal situation and then it will be time to make the right decision for me, for the future, for my family, but it does not affect either the business or the team.
“I’m really focused. In that sense, I’m an animal because I’m really focused.
“I know what my task is in this situation and then I work hard because I want to improve. I want to improve the team and the club with my vision, my idea, my suggestions.
“Then we will definitely see.
“I’m in a completely new situation and I know my job is to be a part of that process and start being solid with a team in transition and try to build a solid foundation and build a ready team. fight to win.”