Skip to main content

Chasing Premier League records no motivation for Guardiola

Pep Guardiola feels setting a points target would be a mistake for Manchester City as they seek to defend the Premier League title for the first time.

No team has won back-to-back Premier Leagues since Manchester United under Alex Ferguson in 2008-09, with City failing on their two previous attempts.

City won the league by 19 points last season, smashing a host of records as former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach Guardiola collected a maiden Premier League crown.

But the Catalan says he is not motivated by the prospect of setting further landmarks with his side, noting clubs such as Chelsea have struggled to follow up their successes.

"It's not the point. I'm not here to say we have to win by 20 points," Guardiola said at a news conference on Friday. "To improve is to see the team play better and individual players get better, but opponents will be better.

"Two seasons ago, Antonio [Conte] won the Premier League and after we won with 30 points ahead [of Chelsea]. What happened last season, we have learned and we know what to do. To improve is not about points or statistics, sometimes you play better and don't win.

"Other teams go up and down, we want to try to win one point more than the others. Last season was a consequence of a lot of things, the records we were going to break, but it's a big mistake to think about the points day by day.

"It's focus. Today we train, we trained good, that is the point. It's a big mistake to think about last season and think we're going to win, next game and try to win. Maybe in the process we win, maybe we don't win.

"Don't think too much about retaining the titles, learn and improve on what we did last season and we will see."

City's defence gets under way at Arsenal on Sunday and Guardiola confirmed he could select World Cup stars including Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne despite their lack of a pre-season.

"They are available," Guardiola said. "Raheem and Kevin had three weeks off after the World Cup, not too much time but both arrive perfect.

"Sterling was fit in four or five days, he's not a big guy, he's fit and sharp, Kevin arrived the perfect weight."

On potential debutant Riyad Mahrez, Guardiola added: "He knows the Premier League and that's a good point for us. Today the football players connect in the teams, new players fit in easily.

"He knew Benjamin Mendy and he helps. In two or three days he was a part of the group."