Men's Team

Pep Guardiola reveals how West Brom draw sparked City rebuild

Pep Guardiola has admitted his displeasure with December’s draw against West Bromwich Albion provoked him into rebuilding his Manchester City team.

The Premier League leaders face Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday evening, with the North London club the last to win against Guardiola’s side, who go into the game on a 22-match unbeaten run.


That 2-0 defeat in November was considering a turning point in City's season, but the boss has revealed it was the 1-1 draw with West Brom which prompted him to rethink his approach.

Unhappy with what he saw, Guardiola felt his team had strayed too far from the principles which have yielded so much success and held talks with his coaching staff about what needed to change.

“It wasn’t specifically that game,” he said when asked what was altered after Spurs to spark our brilliant unbeaten streak.

“It was the game after - West Bromwich -  that we could win because of three incredible chances at the end. After that game I had a feeling this isn't a team I can recognise. I didn't like what I saw.

“We could have won at Tottenham and West Bromwich, but I didn’t like [the way we played]. We talked with Juanma [Lillo], Rodolfo [Borrell], Manel [Estiarte], Txiki [Begiristain] and I said we have to come back to our first principle.

“We started to rebuild and reconstruct the team from that point. We had success in the past and [we had to] come back on our positional play, move the ball quicker, do more passes, stay more in position, run less with the ball.”

Guardiola, however, was not alone in being dissatisfied with the team’s performance.

City’s players, led by captain Fernandinho, had held their own talks and discussed the need to improve after dropping points in seven league games before Christmas.

The resulting run of form, which saw City set an English top-flight record for the most consecutive victories in all competitions, is a product of a collective effort according to Guardiola, who hailed the attitude of his squad.

“We don't have a specific player to win games, we have to do it together,” he added.

“The specific of all of that was the commitment of the players. They talked, they thought they had to do more and they did it.

“We have players here, who, when things go bad, they make a step forward. When everything is going well, everything is easy. The problem is when we are in 12th position in the table.

“We have a captain and the captain said we have to talk; this is not good. Forget about the excuses about the tactics, the manager, the Club, we have to do more and they did it.”

As it stands

Premier League
1 Arsenal Arsenal Arsenal 14 12 1 1 33 11 22 37 WDWWW
2 Manchester City Manchester City Man City 14 10 2 2 40 14 26 32 LWWWL
3 Newcastle United FC Newcastle United Newcastle 15 8 6 1 29 11 18 30 WWWWW
Last updated: 29 November 2022

City hold a five point lead at the top of the Premier League table ahead of Spurs’ visit to the Etihad Stadium, but Guardiola says that was not at the forefront of his mind when he decided changes needed to be made.

The Spaniard took a game by game approach and will continue to do so, with a focus on his preferred ideology.

He says it is inevitable his team will lose at some point and when that moment comes, he will again revert to his tried and trusted methods.

“We didn’t push too much,” explained Pep.

“We said win the next game with our principles and we’ll see what happens. Everyone dropped points and we didn’t drop points and that’s why we are lucky to be there.

“We want to continue these principles as long as possible. When defeat comes,  and it will come because this is exceptional. It is never done before in England, that’s why it is difficult.

“We are going to lose a game, in that moment we must reinforce the principles and come back again and do what we have done for the last three, four years.”

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