EPL

Guardiola: I must deserve new City contract

By Sports Desk September 20, 2020

Pep Guardiola would love to stay at Manchester City beyond this season but believes he has work to do to earn a new contract.

Guardiola will begin a fifth consecutive campaign in charge of the same side for the first time in his career when he takes City to Molineux on Monday to face Wolves in their Premier League opener.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss has won six major hours in four seasons at the Etihad Stadium, including back-to-back Premier League titles in 2017-18 and 2018-19 - triumphs over the course of which they accrued a scarcely credible 198 points.

But Liverpool stormed to glory in England's top flight last term, finishing 18 points clear of City, who again fell short in the Champions League as Lyon punished a limp quarter-final showing in Lisbon.

It leaves one of the most celebrated coaches of his generation with plenty to prove heading into the new season, and Guardiola believes his employers are at the top of the list of those he must impress.

"I would love to stay longer here. It is a place I love to be, but I have to deserve it," he said.

"This club achieved standards in the last decade but we have to maintain that and I have to deserve it.

"I am going to see if I deserve it this season, in terms of how the club goes forward and improves."

At the same time, Guardiola was keen to explain his view of the situation was not down to an ultimatum of any kind.

He enjoys an easy relationship with City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak and his old Barcelona allies Txiki Begiristain and Ferran Soriano - City's respective director of football and chief executive.

Both sides remain relaxed when it comes to talks over an extension.

"We didn't speak with the club in these terms," Guardiola said. "They allow me to do my job the best I can, with all my staff and the players, and this is [what I'm] going to continue to do.

"They didn't tell me you have to do this or you have to that, or you have to win this or you have to win that. They told me to play. In my feeling, I know the standards of the club and if I don't achieve the standards, I probably don't deserve [to stay] so I have to win to extend my contract.

"We have a game every three days so we don't have much time to think about it. I try to see Txiki and Ferran every day and I speak every week with Khaldoon.

"When it is going to happen, it is going to happen. Now we have other issues. The organisation is so strong in all departments. It will not be a problem for the club to do what we have to do in the future."

Guardiola cut an embattled figure after last month's 3-1 loss to Lyon, where his switch to a 3-5-2 formation was heavily criticised.

City moved quickly to sign Valencia winger Ferran Torres and Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake, but their moves to secure an elite centre-back have stalled, while the dream of bringing Lionel Messi to Manchester quickly faded having briefly looked like being realised.

Club record goalscorer Sergio Aguero could miss the first two months of the season as he recovers from meniscus surgery - all of which adds up to a tricky build-up as City aim to overthrow a formidable foe in Liverpool.

Nevertheless Guardiola insists he is ready for the challenges ahead as his career moves into the unchartered territory of season number five.

"I would not be here if I didn't feel the fire or the desire to play good," he added.

"I still want to help the players avoid making mistakes and still I have passion to do it, maybe more than ever.

"I want to try to be together and do a good season."

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    ROUND-UP

    - A former Barcelona head coach could be set for a new job. Marca reports Palmeiras have made a move for Quique Setien after the departure of Vanderlei Luxemburgo.

    - Despite signing Nathan Ake and Ruben Dias in the close season, Manchester City are reportedly look for another defender. Fabrizio Romano suggested the Premier League giants are monitoring Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres.

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