Men’s Team

Guardiola: We will find a solution

PRE-MATCH: The boss waiting for kick off
Pep Guardiola insists City will find a way to adapt in Aymeric Laporte’s absence, as the Premier League Champions prepare to embark on a testing run of fixtures.

As the squad ready themselves for a packed schedule, which includes a Champions League trip to Ukraine and visit of Dinamo Zagreb, three Premier League clashes and a League Cup tie against Preston, concerns have been raised of City’s defensive options with Laporte ruled out for up to six months.

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Guardiola asserts however the team will figure out a way to cope and learn from Saturday’s disappointing setback at Norwich.

“It is what it is,” he stated. “What will I gain if I complain? Aymeric is out for a lot of months. We have to find a solution.

“How many games have John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi played together? And Kyle Walker. A lot. 

“We have to learn from the games. We will speak with the players. The way we attack and defend has been the same for the past two or three seasons.

“We want to take a step for the Club, for them. We are going to solve it."

Guardiola refused to single out players for mistakes made at Carrow Road but hopes to see his side respond well to the disappointment, as they have done in previous seasons with impressive winning streaks.

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The Champions’ setback at Newcastle in January was discussed as a similar situation, although Guardiola admitted Saturday’s circumstances differed to last year’s defeat at St James’ Park.

“Newcastle was different,” he added. “We scored one goal and completely forgot how to play. On Saturday, that didn’t happen – we were not precise upfront, we made individual mistakes and take responsibility for the game.

“We will speak with the players. When we win, we speak also. If you expect me to complain about my players, that is not going to happen – never.

“Maybe people forget they are human beings. In competitions, you can lose – there are mistakes, misses… Maybe it is wrong to talk about us as ‘unbeatable’ or ‘a perfect team’ or talk about what happened in the past.

"Laporte made a mistake in the Champions League quarter-final last season and he’d never made a mistake before – he was the most solid, incredible defender.

“It’s happened. Of course, we will have problems – similar problems than we’ve had before. Maybe players are tired; maybe one will need another one.

WATCH: Norwich v City: Brief highlights

“A new season brings new challenges. Teams want to beat us because we are the Champions for two seasons. We will learn from here – that is the point.

“Sometimes it happens. The players know that if they want to compete, it’s not necessary to tell them or review some clips – right now, in the locker room, we know we have to improve on that.

"In football, in life, in sport, you look at what you have done and what you can improve on. Of course, we can do better. We have conceded more than normal for different reasons.

“We will fight again and again. I’m sorry but if you believe I will doubt my team, I will not. They can improve in many circumstances but to believe now they are bad because we lost a game? No.

“They gave me prestige in England. In the first season, everyone said ‘Fraudiola’ – ‘his kind of game is impossible to play.'

“The players gave me prestige – around the world, people talk about how good I am, but it’s them.

“If there is ever a moment where the players don’t care when we lose, in that situation there will be a problem but I know how they suffer when we don’t win.

“We have to work harder, talk more and we can win the games.”

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