Pep Guardiola has described setting trophy targets as “ridiculous” and says his only focus is on improving his players’ performance level.
The Catalan masterminded a historic 2018-19 season that saw City become the first men’s team in history to win all four major English trophies.
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And we did so in style, scoring 168 goals in all competitions, another top-flight English record.
Some have suggested anything less than four trophies this term would be a disappointment for City – but Guardiola says his job is about raising the level of his players, not fixating on silverware.
“Never when I start the season do I have to win one title, or two, or four or five - I think that is ridiculous,” he said.
“Tomorrow is trying to win, playing well, making mistakes to improve for the next time and trying to do that and play better in the next game.
“That is the only way to arrive in April or May, to try and have success.
“Sometimes you have a good result, but you don’t play well. You don’t have success.
“The key point from our point of view is always to play better, individually and collectively. That is the only secret we have.
“Understand the game, make the players feel they need each other.”
Guardiola has also challenged his players to work harder than ever before.
The boss believes the level City reached last season will not be enough to secure success this time around and he wants to see even more desire from his squad.
“The best athletes work incredibly hard in their job. There is no rest,” he says.
“Footballer players turn 35, 36 and it’s gone, it’s over. After they have time to party and do many things, but when you are here you have to work harder.
“So what we did last season will not be enough. We have to do a little bit more. That is the target.”
Mikel Arteta echoed the manager’s sentiments.
The former Everton and Arsenal midfielder believes looking back on last season would hinder progress.
He wants to raise the standard in training and says everyone involved at first-team level must endeavour to up their level of performance.
“We want to train better than the day before,” he said. “If you try to repeat what you have done, it’s impossible. It’s not achievable.
“What is achievable is tomorrow. How we train our players better, how we make our players better, how we change, restructure and improve our system, how we collectively challenge each other to be better tomorrow.”
It’s been a difficult pre-season, with a number of City players involved in international tournaments.
It means the window in which the coaching staff have had to prepare the players has been somewhat truncated – but Arteta says it’s important our international stars are given the proper time to recuperate.
“Some players are ready after three or four days,” he said. “We talk to each other and say ‘he is ready to play a final tomorrow.’ Other plays take a bit longer.
“Mentally it was a really tough season. Some players played with their international teams after, so they need a break.
“That break can take weeks, sometimes it can take months. It’s a very individual thing.”