Men's Team

Guardiola: I adapt to the players I have

Pep Guardiola says he has never complained about his club’s transfer business as he expressed the belief that it is his job as a manager to adapt in order to get the best out of the players at his disposal.

The Manchester City boss has managed his squad expertly so far this season, guiding his team to a nine-point lead at the top of the Premier League and receiving plenty of praise for how he has navigated the campaign without a recognised striker.


Speaking ahead of Tottenham Hotspur's visit to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, Guardiola admitted Harry Kane had been a summer target, but said he was not disappointed in the transfer window and has had no problem adjusting to playing without a centre-forward since Sergio Aguero departed.

“I want to say something and be clear - I was never disappointed in my managerial career with the club and what it does in the transfer market,” he said when asked at his pre-match press conference if not signing a striker was a sliding doors moment.

“I never create a fire here because I represent the club and the club is always beyond myself.

“We tried [to sign a striker], but it was far away from being done because Tottenham were clear it was not going to happen.

“Now, people say it worked brilliantly. Harry Kane did not come, and everything is going well, but I didn’t know that when we lost to Tottenham in the first game and we lost to Leicester in the Community Shield.

“We have these players, like I did in every season and I was always delighted. The club give me that and we do what we can together. This is the point.

“If we have a proper striker, maybe we play with a striker, but for the quality we have we have to adapt. I adapt for many reasons. It’s not a problem, honestly.

“In my first season, I played with Fabian Delph and Oleks Zinchenko - a typical number 10 - at left-back. What is the problem?  I didn’t ask him to go up and down like a typical left-back. I adapted to the movements he had to play.

“The club is beyond everyone and I know the club do the best for me. When we lose, we are sad, but we don’t point and say it’s your fault.

“I love to work in this way because they know if it goes bad, we will shake hands and break the relationship because we are not good enough to bring the team to a high level, but I don’t feel they talk bad about me when I have bad results.

“We are sad, we sleep bad and then we try and do better. That’s why I am happy here.”

Whilst City don’t have an out and out striker amongst the senior players, in Liam Delap we have a young prospect who is every inch a traditional centre-forward.

Having returned from a lengthy injury layoff, the teenager has made three appearances off the bench in recent weeks.

Guardiola feels the young striker has areas of his game he needs to improve as he bids to transition from academy football into the first team, but says his staff and the senior players will aid Delap's progression.

“He is so young,” he added. “The important thing is if he is training with us and playing minutes with us it's because he can be here. Otherwise, he would not be here.

“But, he is 19 years old. The 19-year-old Phil Foden is completely different to Liam, so that’s why we need to be patient.

“He could have scored against Fulham. Liam has that feeling but he is a player who needs to improve a lot. He needs to improve in the first movements, the first touches.

“At the high level it is completely different to the academy, but he is there every day and practicing with our staff and his mates, he will improve.”

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