Pep Guardiola says three successive home draws in the Premier League caused a degree of hesitancy in his players against Sheffield United.

The City boss felt that, despite his team being unbeaten on home soil in 2023, he had to come up with something different at half-time with the Blues narrowly leading 1-0.

Instead of tweaking formation or changing the game-plan, Guardiola says he reminded his players to go out, relax and enjoy themselves more.

“(We were) uncomfortable the last three times we were here,” he said.

“The first part was silent. The body language of players didn’t communicate, talk, laugh, or shout.

“It was a little bit, ‘okay we have to play’.

“In football, you have to have something inside. At half-time for the first time I didn’t talk one word about tactics - I took a chair and said ‘guys when you go out with a smile on your face and enjoy, we are going to win’.

“In the second half, the first 15 to 20 minutes was the best minutes we had, and that helped us win the game.”

Asked if a long winning run should be expected after back-to-back Premier League wins, the boss added: “We made in the past a lot of winning streaks, but never during that time did we think how many we were going to win.

“We only thought about the next game. We felt in title races against Liverpool that if we lose a game we are not going to win the Premier League and that’s why they pushed us to the highest level.

“I felt at the beginning of the season, qualify for Champions League (knockout stage), win the three trophies (Community Shield, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup) - we won just two - and in the Premier League, just be there.

“I had the feeling we could have more points for the way we performed. We performed really well against Liverpool and Palace and we could be there. It is what it is.

“The position we are in is more than fine. We are going to lose games, they are going to lose games.

“We’re trying to lose as few as possible.”

And of the magnificent 2023 where City claimed five major trophies, Pep smiled and added: “Really cool, really nice. In terms of titles, it was really good.

“In terms of health and family, I don’t know. If you ask City, they would say it’s a decent season.

“We saw the five trophies today. It was really nice. We are so satisfied, so proud.

“Now they are there in the trophy cabinet. Huddersfield next.”