Pep Guardiola issued a rallying cry to his Manchester City players to unite after their FA Cup win over Chelsea
Pep Guardiola says Manchester City’s ‘hungry’ performance against Chelsea in the FA Cup was ‘who we are’, as he challenged all of his players to buy into his approach and keep their hunt for four trophies alive.
City set up an FA Cup fourth round clash with Arsenal or Oxford with a comfortable 4-0 win over Chelsea, where the Blues raced into a 3-0 halftime lead with a high press and ruthless finishing. Next up is a Carabao Cup quarter-final against Southampton, as Guardiola looks to keep City’s quadruple hopes alive.
While he was full of praise for his side’s performance against Chelsea, he also indicated that some players must buy into his demands in the coming weeks if they want to be involved in City’s testing run of fixtures on four fronts.
He said: “I have the feeling that we have incredible human beings – everyone realises what we have to do because we know each other quite well, seven years together,” he said. “But, when we play at home in this way with this incredible hunger, don’t give them that time to think about it.
“If you give time to Kovacic, Jorginho, Koulibaly, they contact with Mason Mount and Gallagher; Havertz can run. When this happens it is because we are alive. The quality of player is there, and when you are a manager you realise something is dropping when these actions, which today we have done, we don’t do it.
“It is easy for me for the next game in Southampton say ‘this who we are’. Show a few clips and say ‘look at how we go at everyone’. They know if they don’t do that, it doesn’t matter their name, he will struggle to be with us. This is the reason why after six or seven years together we are still in the competitions, we are fighting every game, being there and that’s what we need to do.”
Guardiola repeated his warning to his fringe players when asked about returning World Cup winner Julian Alvarez.
The striker replaced Erling Haaland for his first start since the World Cup final, and Guardiola said he was delighted that Alvarez has returned to Manchester in a much happier frame of mind – while urging him and others to be ready when called upon.
Guardiola said: “I miss this happiness, before the World Cup he was a bit down he didn’t play much. Happens the World Cup, today Julian feels, Riyad as well, Bernardo, the way we went there, how aggressive we were. We were contaminated, addictive for the people from behind.
“He had the personality to score a goal, he played really well. I said many times, now still we are in four competitions, we need all the squad. If everyone is humble to accept the minutes to help the team, they will be more than welcome to play for this fantastic club.”