Mens Team

Guardiola: That was our toughest game of the season

PEP TALK: The boss provides some final instructions as City pick up another three points!
Pep Guardiola described City’s crucial 1-0 Premier League win over Sheffield United as our toughest game of the season to date.

Reflecting on what was his 500th triumph as a manager overall, the City boss described himself as both happy and relieved at overcoming the challenge of Chris Wilder’s side.

An early goal from Gabriel Jesus – the Brazilian’s first Premier League strike in 10 league appearances – ultimately proved the difference and secured what was our 12th successive victory in all competitions and eighth in the league.

However, it was a hard-fought triumph on a bone-chilling afternoon at the Etihad with the Blades belying their position at the foot of the table by putting up stiff resistance.

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And the City boss said both the manner of the game and the way the visitors fought until the end, spoke volumes as to the competitive strength of the league – and to the character of his own players.

“I woke up, I went out of my building and saw the wind and freezing conditions and I said straight away this will be one of the toughest games we play this season,” Guardiola revealed.

“Sheffield United are right now at the bottom and that's when you realise the Premier League is the toughest in the world.

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“The physicality and what they do...they’ve had bad moments but their organisation is outstanding. We played really well. We didn't create much but we concede few.

“We were on the right foot on the pitch and we behaved perfectly. I am very grateful to my players for the victory.”

The victory ensured that City would retain top spot in the table irrespective of the result of Manchester United’s late kick-off at Arsenal.

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And asked to reflect on what a 12-game winning run – and one which has seen us create a new English record by winning all nine games in January - said about his squad, Guardiola paid tribute to the collective personality of his players.

“We don't have one player who tries to win for himself. Our top scorers are not in first ten or 12 in the league, so we have to do it as a team,” Guardiola asserted.

“That’s how we will maintain it. The players understand it - some struggled a little bit to understand - but they all understand it. We knew how difficult today would be.

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“In winter, it’s the toughest moment in England, and with COVID it’s a weird life for everyone.

“Here in January, we won every game so that shows the personality of these players. How we react is what I am concerned about now.”

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