Mens Team

Guardiola demands champions' mentality

PL FOCUS: Guardiola wants to see his players show their champions' mentality this weekend in the game against Newcastle
Pep Guardiola has urged his players to show their champions’ credentials when they take on Newcastle United on Saturday teatime.

Guardiola believes City’s ability to bounce back from disappointing results was key to our success last season as we won the Premier League in record-breaking fashion. 

And having drawn 1-1 at newly-promoted Wolves last weekend, he wants to see his players to show the same mettle when City take on Newcastle United at the Etihad.

“We’re in August," he said. "There are a lot of points to play for and the real season starts after the international break, every three games, the travelling and no time to prepare for the games.

"We dropped two, or won one, point at Wolves. The secret last season was when we did that we won the next game.

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Newcastle, who are yet to win this season, are likely to pose a different threat to Wolves, whose desire to attack City earned them plenty of plaudits. 

Rafa Benitez’s side are a more conservative outfit, evidenced in their game at home to Chelsea last weekend and both matches against City last term.

They had just 22 per cent possession when City went to St. James' Park in December, defending in numbers in a bid to frustrate us. 

But Guardiola says unlocking defensive sides is part and parcel of Premier League football, a challenge he relishes. 

“Some teams play more defensively but that is not a problem,” Guardiola said. “Everybody can do what they believe.

“In the end, we are here to get points.  

“If they decide to play in that way, we will do what we have to do.

"That is not a problem. They believe in their styles. It’s in our hands to solve that. That is the trick."

Meanwhile, the boss says he has a virtually fully fit squad to choose from ahead of Saturday’s game.

Long-term absentees Kevin De Bruyne and Claudio Bravo are unavailable, but the rest of the players are ready to face Rafa Benitez’s side.

“Everybody’s okay, everybody’s fit,” Guardiola confirmed.

And there was praise, too, for youngster Claudio Gomes, who Guardiola believes has a big future. 

"Claudio is a young player," he said. "He was in preseason with us and we were delighted with him, that personality that he plays with. 

"The January market is a long time away. We’re looking at options for the future. We decided to pick Claudio up because of his potential."

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