Pep Guardiola insists Manchester City start from scratch in Community Shield

Pep Guardiola is eyeing Community Shield silverware as reigning league champions Manchester City look to kick off the campaign on the right foot.

Those questioning the effectiveness of the Spaniard’s coaching methods during his first season in the Etihad Stadium dugout were made to look foolish in a record-breaking second term.

City became the first Premier League side to reach 100 points, as well as enjoying the most wins and scoring the most goals en route to claiming the title with a gap of 19 points to Manchester United.

Guardiola’s side also won the Carabao Cup, but the manager believes those successes count for little as they prepare to take on Chelsea in the Community Shield on Sunday.

“Momentum was a time ago, it was last season,” the City boss said. “We don’t have momentum because we didn’t start, not yet.

“Of course, we want to win, it’s the final.

“We tried in our short time together to review what we have done, analyse a little bit what Chelsea will be to try and see what we have to do, and play the final.

“Of course, we want to win with the situation we have.

“Also, for Chelsea it is not the ideal situation – they’ve had more time together in this part, but we have the work from the last two seasons.

“We are going to try if the condition is coming, to see what we worked on in this short time works or not.

“Every game will show you if you are in a good path or not, then in one week we have to go to the Emirates against Arsenal.”

Guardiola pledged to go for condition over quality as he looks to select a side capable of beating Chelsea and juggles the late return of many of his World Cup stars.

Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne are the only remaining absentees, putting their availability
for the Premier League clash at Arsenal next Sunday in doubt.

But the duo are sure to be key going forwards as City attempt to become the first team since Manchester
United in 2008-09 to retain the Premier League crown.

In recent seasons the reigning champions have gone off the boil the following season, with Sunday’s opponents Chelsea trundling home in fifth last term.

Asked what makes it such a difficult ask, Guardiola said: “I don’t know. I’ve had this situation in Barcelona and Bayern Munich and we were able to repeat and make back-to-back.

“Here maybe because it’s more complicated for the contenders. All the teams are good, that’s why every time we reflect with perspective what we have done last season I am really impressed.

“Imagine now at the start, we’re going to make 100 points? So the situation is the same as it was at my first press conference: impossible. So that’s why with perspective we realise how good it is.

“But the target is what you have to do. I don’t know the hunger we have. We will see.

“I don’t have an answer for that, just I try to repeat what we have done in Barcelona and Bayern Munich, to be harder with my players. I think that’s the best way.

“Because if you don’t, after winning you’re ‘OK, I am really good’ and that’s the moment when we start to go down.

“I have to be clear with them – the guys who are good say you are good, if you’re bad I am going to say you’re bad.

“You know, try be fair with what I see on the pitch and off the pitch, and try to choose the right line-ups, win games and try game-by-game to do our best.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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