LONDON (Reuters) – Manchester City will not relent in their attacking zeal despite the glut of fixtures to come over the festive period, manager Pep Guardiola said on Friday before the weekend’s Premier League clash against Bournemouth.
City, who won the title last season by breaking records in terms of goals scored and points accrued, are once again flying high, leading the table on 35 points after 13 games without tasting defeat.
It was in the midst of the busy December fixtures last year, however, that Guardiola’s side saw their record 18-game winning run come to a halt in a 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace.
With a plethora of games to come starting with Saturday’s visit of Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth, Guardiola maintained that his side will not change their approach to mitigate the short recovery time.
“When we are not able to win the games, people will say we cannot keep the standard but we have been at the same level for the last 15 months so I don’t have any reason to think we will not be who we are,” the Spanish coach told a news conference.
“That doesn’t mean win or lose but the way we approach the games, I don’t see any signals to see we are not going to try and be who we are.”
On Bournemouth, Guardiola commented: “They are so fast up front with (Calum) Wilson, (Ryan) Fraser, (Junior) Stanislas, (David) Brooks. Very well organised. It will be a tough, tough game.”
City will at least be boosted by the news that forward Gabriel Jesus is close to recovery, with Guardiola adding that he wants the Brazilian to play a lot of minutes in the coming weeks.
However, the manager was more downbeat about reports that 19-year-old Brahim Diaz could be the latest talented youngster to leave the Etihad – possibly following in the footsteps of Jadon Sancho, who is now impressing at Borussia Dortmund since moving there last year.
Spanish media outlets said that Real Madrid could be a possible destination and Guardiola urged the youngster to make a decision.
“We want him (Brahim), we want to extend his contract four or five years and do absolutely everything for him to stay,” he said. “But it’s in his hands. My advice is if he doesn’t want to stay, he has to leave. So it’s simple… he has to decide.”
The Manchester outfit lead the standings by two points ahead of Liverpool, who are also unbeaten in the league so far.
(Reporting by Christian Radnedge; editing by David Stamp)