Pep Guardiola has warned his Manchester City players that there is « no chance » of them catching Premier League leaders Arsenal unless they improve on their recent performances.
City have dropped eight points in their last six Premier League games to trail Arsenal by five points, having played a game more.
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Asked whether Arsenal’s meeting with fellow challengers Manchester United on Sunday represented a chance for his team to close the gap, Guardiola insisted it wouldn’t matter unless they improved their own form.
« It’s not about that, » he told reporters. « [Even if] they lose against United, if we play this way we are not going to win, we aren’t going to catch them. We have to change ourselves.
« Listen, we are second in the table, » he added. « We are not 25 points behind Arsenal, still we are there. It is 57 points still to play. »
But as to whether they can still win this season’s title, Guardiola responded: « In this way, no chance.
« We have the FA Cup, we have the Champions League and next season but the club has to react. »
City were staring at a third straight loss when trailing Tottenham 2-0 at half-time on Thursday. But despite a thrilling second-half comeback to triumph 4-2, Guardiola subsequently blasted his players and the club’s fans for complacency after winning four Premier League titles in five years.
Ahead of hosting Wolves on Sunday, the former Barcelona player and coach repeated his message.
« I won four leagues in Spain when I was a player. Four in a row and the fifth was not the same, and sixth was not the same. I was not starving enough. [Too much] caviar.
« I understand the players but I am here [to motivate them] and the chairman knows that. I want to be here but if I lose the team I cannot be here. »
In contrast to his own team, Guardiola was full of praise for Arsenal, managed by his former assistant Mikel Arteta.
« They have everything. [They are good] with set-pieces, good defensive organization. How they win duels, how they celebrate goals, how they talk, how they hug, how they look at each other.
« This is football, this is tactics as well. And right now we don’t have it. »