With eight goals in seven matches so far this season Khadijah ‘Bunny’ Shaw is the 2022/2023 Women’s Super League leading scorer. She is tied with Aston Villa striker Rachel Daley, who also has a similar shot to goal conversion rate of 30 per cent with the Jamaican.

What is impressive is that Shaw’s eight goals is one less than the nine she scored in all of last season, her first in the WSL after she transferred from Bordeaux in the French league where her 22 goals in her final season won her the Golden Boot. Those eight goals have lifted Manchester City Women to fourth with 15 points from seven games, after losing their first two matches of the season.

So what has made the difference this season that has seen the Jamaican regain the form that has defined her international and club careers to date?

The 25-year-old Shaw has scored 56 goals in just 38 matches for Jamaica, which makes the Jamaica's most prolific striker, male or female. In college, she scored 27 goals in 35 matches for the Tennessee Volunteers while At Bordeaux, she scored 32 times in 35 appearances for the club over two seasons.

She explained that her dip in form last season was caused by her adjusting to a new style of play.

“I have always been consistent,” she said. “In the beginning, City plays a certain way; they have a structure, a culture and the style of play in France was completely different from what I was used to so when I went to City it was like an eye-opener.”

She said the way City wanted to play was difficult for her to adjust to because even as Gareth Taylor is the head coach, Pep Guardiola’s philosophy is what holds sway.

“Pep plays a massive role in the club and to adjust to the way they wanted to play was very difficult and I was playing for minutes as well,” she explained, having to temporarily play second fiddle to Ellen White, who has since retired.

“After the first year, I looked back and reflected to see where I can get better, how I could improve. I watched a lot of film and when I came in (back from the off-season) I spoke with my video analysis guy and we spent a lot of time together so as the games go on I have tried to improve upon the areas in which I was lacking last season.”

Shaw will have a chance to improve her goal tally when Manchester City Women take on Brighton Hove Albion on Sunday, December 4.

Brighton lie ninth in the WSL with seven points from their seven games to date. They have conceded 26 goals in those seven games, the most by any team in the league this season. They seem ripe for the picking for the goal-hungry Jamaican.

 

 

 

Kevin De Bruyne is delighted with Pep Guardiola's new Manchester City contract, but is frustrated Belgium cannot replicate the Premier League champions.

The playmaker has been a crucial figure for Guardiola during his time at the Etihad Stadium, with the pair establishing a bond that has led them to silverware across multiple competitions.

Yet despite his successes there, De Bruyne has sometimes found it difficult to dictate matches under national team boss Roberto Martinez the way he does for City.

With the recent news that Guardiola has signed a two-year extension, De Bruyne professed his happiness but stressed he cannot expect his country to perform like his club.

"It makes my life a lot easier," he stated. "The way he leads the team is very clear and I feel very comfortable with him. Both our contracts run to 2025, so that makes it easier. I could not be happier."

"[But Belgium] can't play in the same way as Manchester City. As a national team, you have to adapt to the players you have around you.

"Does it frustrate me sometimes? Yes, but I should show that less, although that is the perfection I strive for."

De Bruyne was named player of the match as Belgium began their World Cup campaign with an unconvincing 1-0 win over Canada in Group F on Wednesday.

The midfielder cut a frustrated figure throughout and did not partake in celebrations for Michy Batshuayi's eventual winner, though he is aware he needs to keep his visible annoyance on a leash.

"I do know that my reactions are not always good," he added. "I look for moments afterwards, to find that peace, but people know that it's my way to help the team play better and get more out of the game.

"But of course, I also have to learn to react in a better way. Every now and then the emotions spill over, but that's also part of the game."

Belgium next play Morocco on Sunday, before their final Group F match with Croatia next Thursday.

Pep Guardiola has no doubt late mentor Johan Cruyff would have backed his decision to remain with Manchester City after penning a new two-year contract.

The Catalan coach has agreed fresh terms with the Premier League champions to take him through to 2025, stretching his tenure in charge to what will be a nine-year stay.

Under his watch, City have entrenched themselves as the dominant force in English football, with four top-flight titles, though their dream of winning the Champions League remains elusive.

Reflecting on his decision, Guardiola suggested both director of football Txiki Begiristain and himself would have received blessing from the late Dutchman, who managed them during their playing days at Barcelona.

"I think he would say extend two more years the contract!" he told City's website. "I am pretty sure Johan Cruyff would say that.

"From above he is happy right now. Always, I have the feeling of how sad about the fact he cannot be here to enjoy it with all of us. We are his sons, Txiki and myself.

"We talk about how nice it would be if he was here, but something he taught us or drove us with always is there."

Guardiola also took time to praise his backroom staff at City, who have helped him achieve nine major honours as manager.

"First of all, the quality that they have as human beings, first and foremost otherwise they would not be here," he said.

"But you have to cultivate, you have to grow, we have to still do what we have to do to continue to be better. Also, for the backroom staff, the message I’ve done is the same.

"It's not that what we have done is enough. They have to improve themselves, show they want to be here, that they want to help us [and] the club improve altogether. They know I'm just a part of that."

Pep Guardiola arrived at Manchester City in July 2016 with the aim of "winning games to make the fans happy and proud".

Six and a half years on from his appointment, it is fair to say the Catalan has achieved what he set out to do in that regard.

While a lack of Champions League success continues to blight his CV, Guardiola has otherwise conquered English football.

With four Premier League titles, four EFL Cups and one FA Cup, Guardiola has won at least five major trophies more than any other City manager.

After signing a new deal on Wednesday that will keep him at the club until the end of the 2024-25 campaign, Stats Perform looks at the numbers behind Pep's reign.

DOMESTIC DOMINANCE

Guardiola has managed 374 matches as City manager, winning 271 of those, drawing 49 and losing 54 for a win rate of 72.5 per cent.

Most of those games (242) have come in the Premier League, followed by the Champions League (70, inc. qualifying), FA Cup (30), EFL Cup (28) and Community Shield (4).

The 605 Premier League goals scored by City under Guardiola averages out at 2.5 per game, with less than one a game conceded over the same period.

It is in the EFL Cup that Guardiola boasts his highest win percentage (75 per cent), having won 21 of the 28 matches he has managed in that competition, losing just twice.

 

PEP OUTDOING FERGIE

Unsurprisingly given City have won the title in four of his six seasons, no manager – not even Manchester United great Alex Ferguson – can better Guardiola's win rate.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss has won 74 per cent of his games in the competition, with Ferguson, who managed 810 matches, next best on 65.2 per cent.

Among those to have taken charge of at least 20 games, Antonio Conte (65.7 per cent), Jurgen Klopp (63.2) and ex-City boss Roberto Mancini (61.7) make up the top five.

With four English top-flight titles, Guardiola needs one more to overtake Kenny Dalglish, though he has a long way to go to catch up with Ferguson, who won 13-such crowns.


PREM'S TOP DOGS

Guardiola is one of 119 managers to have taken charge of at least 50 Premier League matches, and he leads the way in a number of the top metrics.

He boasts the most points per game on average (2.4), the highest win percentage (74), most goals per game (2.5) and the fewest goals conceded (0.8).

That is reflected in an accumulated Premier League table across his six and a half seasons at the helm, which has City on 568 points – 38 more than next-best Liverpool.

Chelsea and their various managers have accrued the next highest number of points since the start of the 2016-17 season with 463, followed by Tottenham on 455.


CHAMPIONS LEAGUE NEXT?

For all of Guardiola's undoubted success on the domestic stage, though, he has been unable to add to the two Champions League trophies lifted while managing Barcelona.

Guardiola has won 44 of his 68 games in the competition for a win rate of 65 per cent, a return only Hansi Flick can better (89 per cent) from his short spell at Bayern.

However, his side have repeatedly fallen short on the continent, with their run to the final in the 2020-21 season – when defeated by Chelsea – the best they have managed.

"I still have the feeling there is more we can achieve together and that is why I want to stay and continue fighting for trophies," Guardiola said upon signing his new contract.

On course for yet another Premier League triumph, albeit with a five-point gap to make up on Arsenal, conquering Europe again is now the undoubted main aim for Guardiola.

Pep Guardiola's new contract with Manchester City will see him remain at the Etihad Stadium until 2025, when he will mark nine years at the club.

The Catalan coach has already remained in the Premier League for longer than he has at his previous roles with Barcelona and Bayern Munich, finding a home within English football and establishing a dominant force with his City side.

Throughout his six and a half years in charge so far, Guardiola has been in charge of numerous superstars and club legends, with an all-time squad that would be of envy for any manager in world football.

But how exactly do you break that down into a full XI? Stats Perform has taken on the task and done exactly that.

Ederson

Guardiola made a bold choice upon his arrival in Manchester, swiftly making it clear England international Joe Hart, a two-time Premier League winner, would not fit into his plans moving forward. After a disappointing season with Claudio Bravo, Ederson arrived in 2017 and has been number one ever since.

All of Ederson's 260 appearances across all competitions have come as a starter, higher than any other player under Guardiola, while he sits fifth in the list for total appearances under the Catalan boss.

Kyle Walker

Signed from Tottenham Hotspur in 2017, Kyle Walker has been a mainstay in the City side that has dominated domestic football over the course of the past five years, ranking fifth for the most starts under Guardiola in all competitions (207).

Walker's versatility has been a key benefit for Guardiola and England, with his attacking play also fitting into City's style of play well. Since arriving at City, Walker has contributed 17 assists across all competitions, behind only Joao Cancelo (20) among defenders.

Aymeric Laporte

Among defenders during Guardiola's spell in charge, only John Stones and Walker have started more games than Laporte (155), with both players having joined the club in the seasons before Laporte's arrival from Athletic Bilbao in January 2018.

A total of 163 appearances across all competitions puts him narrowly ahead of Nicolas Otamendi (161) for most games under Guardiola.

John Stones

Snapped up in 2016 as one of Guardiola's first signings, Stones has had to contend with incredible competition for his spot at the heart of the defence, with the likes of Laporte, Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake all drafted in.

Despite that, Stones continues to be an important player for City and has made 175 starts under Guardiola and 206 appearances overall, ranking second in both among defenders behind only Walker.

Joao Cancelo

The versatile Portuguese full-back moved to City in 2019 from Juventus and has excelled for City, tallying 149 total appearances and 135 starts in all competitions since joining the club, and provides a huge boost in the attacking third.

A total of 20 assists puts him above any defender during Guardiola's spell in charge, even those who have been at the club far longer.

Kevin de Bruyne

Few players fit the Guardiola philosophy more than De Bruyne, who has hit new heights under the former Barcelona boss to stand among the finest players in world football – with a record in front of goal that many would envy.

De Bruyne has registered 117 assists under Guardiola, way ahead of second-place Raheem Sterling (66), while he has scored 73 goals – only behind Gabriel Jesus, Sterling and Sergio Aguero.

Ilkay Gundogan

With 205 starts under Guardiola, the midfielder has been an integral part of the City side since following the Catalan from Germany to Manchester, ranking only behind Walker, David Silva, Sterling, De Bruyne and Ederson in that regard.

Only six players have scored more goals under Guardiola than Gundogan (51), who ranks ninth for the most assists (33).

Fernandinho

The rock of City's midfield for years, Fernandinho started 200 games under Guardiola and made a total of 244 appearances, the latter seeing him rank behind only Ederson, Bernardo Silva, Gundogan, De Bruyne and Sterling.

A total of 12 goals and 16 assists in those matches represents a decent return for a player renowned more for his defensive strength.

Bernardo Silva

Slotting into the attack ahead of Phil Foden and David Silva, both of whom have a stellar record under Guardiola, Bernardo Silva narrowly gets the nod due to his own impressive numbers in the final third.

Silva has 104 direct goal contributions (50 goals, 54 assists) in 273 appearances, starting in 208 of those matches. Only Sterling and De Bruyne have more assists under Guardiola, while Silva is one of eight players to hit the half-century mark for goals.

Sergio Aguero

In the future, Aguero's spot in the team is likely to be under significant threat from Erling Haaland following his blistering start to life at City, but the Argentine superstar retains the edge for the time being.

Aguero scored 124 goals under Guardiola, more than any other player, with Sterling the only other to have broken the century mark. Those goals came in just 183 appearances with Guardiola in charge, displaying his deadly ability in front of the net.

Raheem Sterling

An unsung hero of the Guardiola era, Sterling played 292 times under the Catalan boss, more than anyone else, while only Aguero scored more goals than Sterling (120).

Sterling also contributed 66 assists under Guardiola, sitting behind only De Bruyne, and is the only player to have scored over 100 goals and added over 50 assists under the Catalan boss.

Pep Guardiola's wildly successful reign as Manchester City manager is set to continue until 2025 after he agreed a two-year contract extension at the Etihad Stadium.

Since swapping Bayern Munich for the Premier League in 2016, Guardiola has enjoyed incredible success, winning four league titles, as many EFL Cups and the FA Cup.

However, not everything has gone to plan for Guardiola in the past six years, and his desire to end a long wait for continental glory was likely a key factor in his decision to stay with the club.

Guardiola has undoubtedly enjoyed more highs than lows during his time with City, but there have been a few bumps in the road along the way.

Here, Stats Perform takes a look back at Guardiola's major triumphs with the Citizens, as well as some of his rare failures.

Low: An underwhelming start, 2016-17 

When Guardiola agreed to take the reigns at City in 2016, hopes were high that he would make an immediate impact – his three years at Bayern had seen him deliver three Bundesliga titles, posting two of the club's three highest points tallies in their history (90 in 2013-14, 88 in 2015-16). 

However, Guardiola's focus on instilling his possession-based style attracted criticism from some, particularly when he opted to replace two-time Premier League winner Joe Hart with the more cultured if erratic Claudio Bravo.

City racked up 78 points as they finished third in 2016-17, an improvement of one place and 12 points on Manuel Pellegrini's final campaign in charge, but more was expected from the former Barcelona coach.

In a sign of things to come, City saved their most disappointing display for the Champions League, exiting on away goals after a wild 6-6 aggregate draw with Monaco in the last 16.

High: City's centurions, 2017-18 

If Guardiola's first season with City was largely forgettable, his second campaign at the helm was memorable for all the right reasons.

Most points (100), most away points (50), most wins (32), most consecutive victories (18) and best goal difference (+76) were among the Premier League records City claimed during an incredible season.

Buoyed by the signings of future stalwarts Kyle Walker, Ederson, Bernardo Silva and Aymeric Laporte, City ultimately finished some 19 points clear of Jose Mourinho's Manchester United.

Guardiola did not even have to wait until May to get his hands on silverware, leading City to an EFL Cup final thrashing of Arsenal in February 2018.

Low: Champions League final heartache, 2021

The main criticism levelled at Guardiola throughout recent years has been his failure to win the Champions League since leaving Camp Nou in 2012.

City's nearest miss to date came in Porto in May 2021, as Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea produced a defensive masterclass to frustrate the Premier League champions en route to a 1-0 win. 

Kai Havertz's goal handed the Blues their second European crown at the Estadio do Dragao, but one of the defining images was that of Kevin De Bruyne leaving the field in tears following a heavy collision with Antonio Rudiger.

The defeat was Guardiola's first in a final with City, and just the second major final loss of his entire coaching career – after a 2011 Copa del Rey reverse to Real Madrid.

High: Domestic cup dominance, 2018-2022

While Guardiola's success is best measured in league titles, City have made several superb memories by dominating the cup competitions under his management.

Under Guardiola, City have captured the FA Cup once and the EFL Cup four times – for context, the club had only won the latter competition three times in their history before his arrival.

Guardiola's lone FA Cup triumph – sealed with a 6-0 final win over Watford in 2019 – made City the first English team to lift both domestic cups and the top-flight title in the same season.

Their rout of the Hornets also represented the biggest margin of victory in an FA Cup final since Bury beat Derby County 6-0 in 1903.

Low: Collapse at the Bernabeu, 2022

The final defeat in 2021 may be the closest Guardiola's City have come to European glory, but last season's collapse against Real Madrid was undoubtedly their most painful failure in the competition.

Holding a 5-3 aggregate lead over Madrid as the second leg entered stoppage time at the Santiago Bernabeu in May, it seemed impossible for City to fall short of a place in the final.

However, Rodrygo's incredible last-gasp brace was followed by an extra-time penalty from Karim Benzema, teeing Madrid up to claim their 14th European crown later that month.

The result handed Guardiola his sixth semi-final elimination from the Champions League – the joint-most of any coach, alongside Jose Mourinho.

High: Edging out Klopp's Reds, 2018-19 and 2021-22

All great teams need a great rival, and in Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool, Guardiola's City have certainly had one.

Since the start of the 2016-17 campaign, City have amassed an incredible tally of 568 Premier League points, putting them 38 clear of Liverpool's own impressive total.

The closest title battles between the duo came in the 2018-19 and 2021-22 seasons, with City edging out the Reds by just a single point on the final day of both campaigns.

Two of Guardiola's four league titles have thus come at the end of close-run races with Liverpool, helping him become the most decorated manager in City's history with nine major trophies.

Pep Guardiola has signed a new two-year contract to extend his tenure as Manchester City manager until 2025.

Guardiola has enjoyed a hugely successful spell since taking over at the Etihad Stadium in 2016, winning four Premier League titles, as many EFL Cups, and the FA Cup once.

His City side have also come agonisingly close to winning the Champions League, reaching at least the quarter-final stage in each of the last five seasons and losing 1-0 to Chelsea in the 2020-21 final.

City supporters will hope the signing of striker Erling Haaland will be the final piece to the puzzle as Guardiola seeks to win Europe's elite club competition with City for the first time, having achieved it twice as Barcelona head coach.

With Guardiola's contract having previously been set to expire at the end of the 2022-23 campaign, there had been talk the 51-year-old may opt to leave, either in search of a new challenge or to go on a sabbatical period similar to the one he took after departing Barcelona.

But the Spaniard has decided to remain as City's boss and he spoke of his delight after putting pen to paper.

"I am so pleased to be staying at Manchester City for another two years," Guardiola told the club's website.

"I can't say thank you enough to everyone at the club for trusting me. I am happy and comfortable here. I have everything I need to do my job as best as possible.

"I know the next chapter of this club will be amazing for the next decade. It happened over the last 10 years, and it will happen in the next 10 years because this club is so stable.

"From day one I felt something special being here. I cannot be in a better place.

"I still have the feeling there is more we can achieve together and that is why I want to stay and continue fighting for trophies."

 

Pep Guardiola has signed a new two-year contract to extend his tenure as Manchester City manager until 2025.

Guardiola has enjoyed a hugely successful spell since taking over at the Etihad Stadium in 2016, winning four Premier League titles, as many EFL Cups, and the FA Cup once.

His City side have also come agonisingly close to winning the Champions League, reaching at least the quarter-final stage in each of the last five seasons and losing 1-0 to Chelsea in the 2020-21 final.

City supporters will hope the signing of striker Erling Haaland will be the final piece to the puzzle as Guardiola seeks to win Europe's elite club competition with City for the first time, having achieved it twice as Barcelona head coach.

With Guardiola's contract having previously been set to expire at the end of the 2022-23 campaign, there had been talk the 51-year-old may opt to leave, either in search of a new challenge or to go on a sabbatical period similar to the one he took after departing Barcelona.

But the Spaniard has decided to remain as City's boss and he spoke of his delight after putting pen to paper.

"I am so pleased to be staying at Manchester City for another two years," Guardiola told the club's website.

"I can't say thank you enough to everyone at the club for trusting me. I am happy and comfortable here. I have everything I need to do my job as best as possible.

"I know the next chapter of this club will be amazing for the next decade. It happened over the last 10 years, and it will happen in the next 10 years because this club is so stable.

"From day one I felt something special being here. I cannot be in a better place.

"I still have the feeling there is more we can achieve together and that is why I want to stay and continue fighting for trophies."

 

Liverpool are reportedly keeping a close eye on Declan Rice's performances for England at the World Cup, and will prepare a move for the West Ham midfielder if they feel he handles the pressure of the big stage.

Rice, 23, played in all seven games for England in their run to the Euro 2020 final, and he has played in every minute of West Ham's 15 fixtures this Premier League season.

The defensive midfielder is a favourite of manager David Moyes, who declared in April that his price had risen to such an extent that "£150m just now would be minimum" – but his contract situation could force the club's hand.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL WATCHING IF RICE CAN RISE TO THE CHALLENGE

According to Football Insider, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is a "huge admirer" of the man with 35 international caps already under his belt, but he still wants to see more.

The report claims Liverpool will be paying attention to "how Rice copes with the type of scrutiny and huge-game pressure he does not get at West Ham, who do not compete in the Champions League or challenge for trophies".

Rice's contract ties him to the club until 2024, although there is a club-option to extend the contract for an extra year.

He turned down a bumper new deal earlier this year that would have paid him £200,000 per week, indicating this will likely be his last contract with West Ham, and that factor will drive his price down the longer the club waits.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sport are reporting Manchester City are close to locking up Pep Guardiola on a new contract through 2025.

- According to 90min, Tottenham are eyeing Everton's Jordan Pickford, Brentford's David Raya and Brighton's Robert Sanchez as potential replacements for 35-year-old club captain Hugo Lloris.

- Chelsea's Christian Pulisic will likely be headed to the Serie A, per Fichajes, with Inter and Juventus said to be competing for his signature in January.

- AS are reporting Atletico Madrid will loan out Joao Felix in January after a lack of transfer interest.

- Newcastle United will make another run at 21-year-old Watford forward Joao Pedro, according to Football Insider, after having a £30m offer rejected before the season.

Manchester United are looking sever ties with Cristiano Ronaldo following his explosive interview this week, according to reports.

United put out a statement that they are taking "appropriate steps in response to Cristiano's recent media interview".

That has fuelled speculation his contract – which is due to run out at the end of the season – will be torn up.

TOP STORY – CHELSEA AND FIORENTINA READY FOR JANUARY RONALDO MOVES

The Mirror claims Chelsea are ready to reignite their interest in Cristiano Ronaldo in January, while Italian reports have linked Fiorentina with him too.

Blues owner Todd Boehly was keen on the 37-year-old during the last transfer window but nothing materialised. However, following their slow start to the season and head coach Thomas Tuchel's exit, Chelsea may be back in for the under-fire Portugal international.

Calciomercatoweb claims Fiorentina could also make a move in January, with wealthy owner Rocco B Commisso ready to offer him a lucrative deal.

ROUND-UP

- Manchester City loom as an option for Lionel Messi, according to El Nacional. City are managed by Messi's former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola, who could lure him to England. Barca are eager to secure a return for Messi, whose contract with Paris Saint-Germain ends in mid-2023, but he has deferred all talks on his future until after the World Cup.

- The Sun on Sunday claims Chelsea will keep a close eye on Everton's Jordan Pickford with England during the World Cup as Boehly considers a move for a new goalkeeper.

- Chelsea are considering moving for Aston Villa's Leon Bailey, according to the Mail on Sunday. Jamaica international Bailey is close friends with Blues winger Raheem Sterling.

- Milan are contemplating a January move for Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar, whose agents approached the Italian champions. Aouar's contract expires at the end of this season.

- Manchester United teenager Alejandro Garnacho is set to see his wages multiply 10 times on a bumper new contract, claims the Daily Star. The Argentine's new deal would see his wages rise from £5,000 to around £50,000.

Lionel Messi has joked that Pep Guardiola "did football a lot of harm" with his revolutionary approach at Barcelona, describing the now-Manchester City boss as the best coach he has worked with.

Guardiola led Barca to 14 major trophies during an incredible four-year spell with the club between 2008 and 2012, including three league titles and two Champions Leagues.

In the decade since Guardiola left Camp Nou, Messi has only lifted Europe's foremost club prize on one occasion (in the 2014-15 season), while the City boss has yet to repeat his continental heroics with Barca.

However, Messi is in no doubt as to Guardiola's place as the best coach he has worked with and believes others' desire to emulate him damaged the game.

Asked by Movistar whether Guardiola is the best coach he has played under, Messi said: "Without a doubt. 

"He has something special, above all how he watched and prepared for matches and how he communicates, because of how he transmitted it to you.

"Guardiola did football a lot of harm, because he made it look so easy and so simple that everyone wanted to copy him. 

"Later I found many 'Guardiolas' out there, and you realise what we did and what that was."

Messi warmed up for his fifth World Cup campaign with Argentina by starting Paris Saint-Germain's 5-0 thrashing of Auxerre on Sunday, having recovered after suffering from inflammation in his Achilles tendon last week.

Pep Guardiola believes he would struggle to find a better club than Manchester City, but he still will not discuss his long-term future at the Etihad Stadium.

The Spaniard's contract with the Premier League champions expires at the end of this campaign, by which point he will have had seven years at the helm.

In that period, he has four league titles, four EFL Cups and one FA Cup, although the Champions League crown he was brought in to help secure continues to elude him.

Guardiola's stay at City now matches the time he spent at former clubs Barcelona and Bayern Munich combined, and he acknowledges his working conditions could hardly be better.

"[Would I] stay in another place for seven years? No, I don't think so," he told The Athletic. "It is difficult to find what I have here as a manager.

"To be a manager for a long time, you need to be so supported. The results help a lot, that is undeniable. In this world, they sack you, they fire you, we know that.

"But at big clubs, part of the success of the manager is the chairman, the sporting director especially, the CEOs and all the people here.

"It goes to the media, fans and players. There is stability. This is why I think only in few clubs this can happen."

With the club season set to take a hiatus for the World Cup imminently, City could move to tie Guardiola down to a new long-term deal.

The manager dodged the question on imminent talks, however, only adding: "I've said many times, I don't talk about that.

"Everything is under control. The decision will be made together with the club the moment it has to be made. When we have time, when the moment we feel it both sides, we take a decision."

Pep Guardiola acknowledged Brentford were worthy victors after Ivan Toney's double condemned Manchester City to a damaging Premier League defeat on Saturday. 

City approached their meeting with Brentford knowing a win would move them – at least temporarily – to the top of the table, but Toney added to his opener with a 98th-minute winner as the Bees clinched a shock victory.

The champions failed to build on Phil Foden's outstanding first-half equaliser despite subjecting Brentford to long spells of pressure, and Guardiola believes the result was a fair one.

"The best team won, the better team won," Guardiola told BT Sport. 

"We struggled a lot from the long balls, direct from [David] Raya up to the striker, and when they lost the ball, they were always behind the ball.

"We had problems up front and we didn't have our rhythm. We had more momentum, but when it was crosses, second balls... we struggled.

"It's difficult, in the small spaces, we need the quality and we struggled. But yeah, they were better, I accept it."

Toney's second strike came after 97 minutes and 16 seconds, making it the latest winning goal scored against City in the Premier League since Opta's exact goal times became available in 2006-07.

The result ended City's 20-match unbeaten run on home soil, but Guardiola does not feel the spectre of the World Cup affected his team's performance.

Asked whether his side played with caution ahead of the tournament, Guardiola said: "Who knows? I don't think so. 

"I think the problem was tactical, you saw how the guys ran and how they fought, it was more the long balls and second balls, we weren't able to do it.

"It's football, now there's a break for everyone. I congratulate Brentford. Hopefully the guys at the World Cup can enjoy it, and we'll come back."

Ivan Toney responded to his failure to make England's World Cup squad by firing Brentford to a stunning 2-1 victory over Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, preventing the champions from going top of the Premier League.

Brentford went ahead after 16 minutes when Toney nodded beyond Ederson, but City levelled through Phil Foden's brilliant half-volley after pinning the visitors back.

However, Pep Guardiola's men struggled to break down the stubborn Bees in a stop-start second half, and Toney finished off a fine Brentford break by tapping home a dramatic winner in the eighth minute of stoppage time.

The result saw City sign off for the World Cup break in frustrating fashion, leaving them two points behind leaders Arsenal ahead of the Gunners' trip to Wolves later on Saturday. 

 

Pep Guardiola joked both he and Jurgen Klopp will need to play for Manchester City and Liverpool when the sides meet after the World Cup.

The Premier League rivals will meet for the third time this season, having faced off in the Community Shield and the top-flight already, with the Reds victorious on both occasions, when they play each other in the fourth round of the EFL Cup.

But their next encounter will come immediately in the shadow of Qatar 2022, with the tie set to take place only a handful of days after the World Cup final on December 18.

That has led Guardiola to suggest both managers may need to lace up their boots, while conceding he does not know how his team will look once the dust settles after the tournament.

"He's going to play at left-back," he quipped on Klopp in a press conference. "I'm going to play holding midfielder. [But] I don't know how many players we will have.

"If [their national teams] don't get through the group stages, then they will be able to play Liverpool. If not, then we will see. Players will come back, but I don't know in what condition [yet]."

Both City and Liverpool will see several key players head to Qatar with their respective nations, though a fleet of players will not be called up.

That includes those, such as Erling Haaland and Mohamed Salah, whose countries have not qualified, while others like Roberto Firmino and Thiago Alcantara have not made the cut.

In the case of Haaland, Guardiola does not necessarily see the Norway international's break from action as a blessing in disguise, despite the striker's recent struggles with fitness.

"I'd prefer him to go to the World Cup," he added. "[But] unfortunately they didn't qualify. He'll recover hopefully perfectly from his injury. He'll be in Marbella or Norway, and will hopefully come back to train."

City play Brentford in the Premier League this weekend, in their final game before the mid-season break, but will be without Kyle Walker as he continues to recover from injury.

The defender was named in England's World Cup squad alongside club-mate Kalvin Phillips, who only returned to action himself in midweek, with Guardiola saying Gareth Southgate's call to take the duo to Qatar is backed by City.

"It's a decision from Gareth," he added. "One-hundred per cent, we support his decision. After Saturday, the players belong to their national team, not us. I'm not worried."

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