Pep Guardiola tore into his Manchester City players, who were satisfied that there must have been a reason behind it
Manchester City players trusted that Pep Guardiola knew what he was talking about when he launched into stinging criticism of them last week.
City’s coach took the players apart in the dressing room at half-time of their Premier League game with Tottenham as they trailed 2-0, and even after they came back to win 4-2 he used several media opportunities after the game to make clear recent performances had been well below what he had expected. A lack of desire, passion, and hunger were all cited as Guardiola questioned where the motivation of his stars had gone after winning multiple titles.
In the week since, the Blues have picked up a 3-0 win over Wolves and then knocked league leaders Arsenal out of the FA Cup to make it three straight wins. Whether or not there were mind games behind Guardiola’s criticism, defender Nathan Ake explained that the coach’s reputation was enough for them to accept they needed to get better as he suggested it could have been a managerial masterstroke to take aim at them.
“Yes of course. He’s been in the game so long and seen everything,” said Ake. “He’s been at top, top clubs and probably did it to wake us up. It was needed and hopefully we can keep it going now.
“We thought ‘okay, we have to improve.’ He’s been in the game so long, and seen everything, so he’s probably right and the only thing we can do as a team is fight back and show everyone and ourselves we still have that fight and hunger.
“Obviously he said it for a reason. Maybe it did dip a bit but over the last few games we have shown we want to try, we want to compete and we did that again here. We want to make sure we will keep fighting for everything. That’s the only thing we can do as a team and a club.