Pep Guardiola said that Manchester City proved there is nothing wrong with their mentality after the champions cut Arsenal’s lead at the top of the table to five points by beating Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge last night.
Guardiola, who sarcastically called himself a genius after his decision to bring Jack Grealish and Riyad Mahrez off the bench led to the winning goal against an injury-hit Chelsea, sounded confident that his team have not grown complacent after winning four titles in the past five seasons.
City, whose next two league games are against Manchester United and Tottenham, were determined to respond after their draw with Everton and take advantage of Arsenal’s stalemate with Newcastle. They were below par in the first half, even though Chelsea’s list of absentees grew when Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic picked up early injuries, but Guardiola was in a good mood after watching Grealish create the winner for Mahrez.
“The people believe in November we are already champions and this is impossible. Arsenal, United right now, the other teams don’t have this pressure. After four Premier Leagues in five years it’s not easy to push them again and that’s why I’m satisfied – after what’s happened in the last year, still right now we are there.
“We prefer to be closer but the way Arsenal have played so far, they deserve to be there and I know the challenge that we have. But it was so important, especially for the second half, to be aware that we can do it again and again and again. And of course before Old Trafford and Spurs.”
“The situation we’re in, to think about what’s going to happen in five months’ time is the wrong path,” Chelsea’s manager said. “We have to just focus on the next day and the next game and keep being together, keep showing the performance level we showed today, keep taking the challenges that are coming our way and try to stay together as a team and as a club and move forward.”
Potter, who lost Mason Mount to a minor knock in training, substituted Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the second half despite earlier bringing the striker on for Sterling. The former Brighton manager, who is under growing pressure, was forced to deny that there is any problem with Aubameyang, who looked annoyed when he came off.
“He came on after one minute so he hasn’t played for a while,” Potter said. “He put in an absolute shift. City make you run a lot, but I thought he did everything he could for the team. He was fatiguing a little bit. Of course players want to stay on the pitch and want to influence the game but it’s a normal reaction.”
Potter, whose side visit City in the third round of the FA Cup on Sunday, gave opportunities to several youngsters. Carney Chukwuemeka came on for Pulisic and Lewis Hall replaced the disappointing Marc Cucurella, who lost Mahrez for the goal. There was also a debut for the 19-year-old winger Omari Hutchinson. Potter’s hand had been forced by injuries.
Source: The Guardian