Guardiola: City players must start from square one next season

Pep Guardiola has warned his Manchester City players they will have to prove themselves all over again next season.

The Premier League champions can complete an unprecedented domestic treble when they face Watford in the FA Cup final on Saturday.

But regardless of whether City can crown an outstanding season with victory at Wembley or not, the ever-demanding Guardiola says reputations will count for little next term.

The City boss said: “Every player has to feel, ‘I have to play good or I don’t play’. They have to feel, ‘I have to win again, if not I have problems, I’m in trouble, I cannot be longer here’.

“People say how beautiful it is but we have to win again and again and again and the players have to feel that.

“It was incredible but for the first day from next season we start from zero.”

Guardiola expects some changes to be made to the squad this summer. Signings will be made to freshen up the group and he accepts some players may wish to move on.

He said: “Some movements we have to do for the next season, yes, because people want to leave, players want to play.

“They accept not playing for a period but when the period is long it’s normal that they want to play more. I can’t assure that to anyone so I understand completely.”

Winger Leroy Sane was linked with Bayern Munich this week while Ilkay Gundogan now has just one year remaining on his contract. Guardiola remains hopeful both will agree new deals.

He said: “Leroy, we are one and a half years trying to sign his (new) contract. We want him. It’s like Gundogan – it’s the same case.”

Leroy Sane and Ilkay Gundogan have been subjects of transfer speculation
Leroy Sane and Ilkay Gundogan have been subjects of transfer speculation (Martin Rickett/PA)

Captain Vincent Kompany is out of contract this summer. Guardiola hopes to retain the services of the four-time Premier League winner but the 33-year-old’s future after the FA Cup final remains unclear.

He said: “We are going to speak after this game. Vinny has shown again when he is fit what he is able to do.”

City were in contention for a quadruple until being beaten in dramatic fashion by Tottenham in the Champions League quarter-finals last month.

Guardiola, however, doubts whether his team would have been able to hold off Liverpool in the Premier League if the result against Spurs had gone the other way.

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He said: “Always I thought after going out to Tottenham in the Champions League quarter-finals, if we’d gone through would we have been able to beat Tottenham (again), go to Old Trafford, Burnley and win the points we needed to be champions against this Liverpool?

“Honestly, I don’t know if we would have been able.”

Guardiola won the Champions League twice with Barcelona and will fight again to win the prize with City next term.

He said: “Of course it’s our dream to do it but I have to improve, I have to see what I can do better to do it. As a manager I’m not good enough in this club to maintain it.

Guardiola's City were knocked out of the Champions League by Tottenham
Guardiola’s City were knocked out of the Champions League by Tottenham (Mike Egerton/PA)

“We will work on I don’t know what because we tried to do our best, but the Champions League is difficult. It was not the same level as we’ve achieved in the other competitions.”

Guardiola remains keen to point out that City can still win a quadruple this season, as they won the Community Shield last August.

He said: “We can win it tomorrow – the ‘little’ quadruple. It’s a big chance for us.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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