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Pep Guardiola has challenged City to prove their desire to win the Premier League.
The Blues top the league table ahead of the competition’s return this weekend and seek their 16th consecutive victory when they face Leicester on Saturday afternoon.
With Guardiola boasting such a young squad – some of whom who are yet to win a major trophy – the Catalan boss has urged his side to show how eager they are for glory by pushing themselves to become the best they can be – individually and collectively.
“We have 11 players between 20 and 26 so they are young,” he told press. “It all depends on them – if they want to grow.
“Not all of them have not won a title in their careers or have never won the Premier League so we have to see if they will have the desire to win.
“They play regularly but that does not assure you anything in the future.
“But I can assure you that we have a young squad for the next years and that it doesn’t matter who will be here. We have young players for the future.
“That’s why it was so important last summer and this one to look for young players.”
Guardiola asserted there is room for the whole squad to improve, even those with plenty of Premier League experience, adding he is motivated to develop them.
“I have worked with players for the first time who are 30 years old and it was a huge pleasure to train them because they have a huge desire to improve,” he continued.
“When you are young, you have desire and hunger to play in the international team, to go to the World Cup and the Champions League – and to win titles.
“I was [working] with Eric Abidal at Barcelona when we was 30 years old and he became one of the best central defenders I have ever seen.
“He was so fast with the ball. In the beginning, he was not good with the ball. Every session, we focused on the ball and he became a top central defender.
“That was a pleasure. If you are open to trying to improve, then age is not a problem.
“The players are shown the mistakes they do after every single game and where they can improve. Our wingers are so important but there are many things they can improve on.
“It will be boring if they have (already cracked it). It would be a big mistake if they think they’ve done enough until now.”
Asked what areas in particular his side can advance, Guardiola replied: “We’ve missed some easy balls.
“When we defend deep, we are not completely organised. There was a clear counter attack during our last game that wasn’t finished.
“When one guy makes a bad pass or bad control, we can improve that. Individual mistakes influence the group and the opposite way. The moment the players don’t believe they can do better, then that’s the moment we crash and fall down.
“It’s impossible to be perfect but it is possible to be better. We analyse [aspects] to do better.
“We cannot deny we’re happy in terms of results but it’s the same as when we were winning games at Barcelona and Bayern Munich – always you can do better.
“The level is high but we can improve individually and collectively. Opponents are going to create more and more problems.
“How are we going to solve that? The perfect game, team, players, managers… do not exist. “
Guardiola reserved praise for defender John Stones and his dedication to improvement, crediting his development to fatherhood.
“We cannot forget that last season was the first time he was able to play three games a week,” he stated.
“Everton play once a week but here, you have the Champions League – you need a process to settle.
“He became a father and that helped his life to be well-organised. He has this amazing quality to understand the game – to be calm and to read the next pass.
“He is more mature. Every player when he’s 20 or 21 is completely different to when he is 27 or 28.
“To have experience in the Champions League, you need to live that to become a better player.
“You have a lot of skills and talent when you buy players but they have to live the situation to realise they can handle it. For that, they need time which in football, you don’t get.
“Defensively, all the team have helped a lot but he joined and has a good partnership with Nicolas Otamendi.
“Every game last season, John made one or two mistakes. This season, that is less regular.
“He’s still young and it depends on him and if he wants to become better. Hopefully, he still has the desire to improve because there are many things to improve with and without the ball.”