Guardiola plays down record talk; clarifies Man City spending comment

Pep Guardiola has tried to shift the focus away from records as Manchester City look for a 20th consecutive win in all competitions.

The Premier League leaders host West Ham on Saturday looking to equal – if triumphs in penalty shootouts are included – what would be a club record for consecutive victories.

The City manager said: “The challenge is not to win 20 or 21, the challenge is to beat West Ham.”

Guardiola has also brushed off a lot of the praise for his side’s performance in beating Borussia Monchengladbach in the Champions League in midweek.

He said: “It is what it is. When you win you are a genius and when you lose you are a disaster. I don’t listen much.”

Kevin De Bruyne was an unused substitute against the German side as he is eased back into action after injury but Guardiola insists he is ready to play.

He said: “He’s fully fit. He was fully fit against Gladbach as well. I’m not going to say any different as to how key and important a player he is for us.

“In the last part of the season he will be so important.”

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West Ham are currently fourth in the Premier League and Guardiola has been impressed by their progress this season.

He said: “They are in a Champions League position. That is not (just) a good run – it is many months and they are there.

“It means how strong they are.”

Guardiola is also an admirer of Hammers boss David Moyes, the veteran former Everton, Manchester United and Sunderland manager.

He said: “I admire this type of person like (Roy) Hodgson. They have incredibly long careers. I would love to have these careers for many years and the passion to do the job.

“I cannot forget my first game in the Premier League was against Sunderland and he was the manager there. He was so kind to me, he gave me some advice about the Premier League.”

Asked what that advice was, Guardiola said at his pre-match press conference: “Try to buy the best wine as possible to invite the manager when you win the game!”

Guardiola clarifies money comment

Guardiola elaborated on a remark in midweek in which he said City’s successful run was entirely down to the money they have spent in the transfer market.

This was widely perceived to be a sarcastic response to critics throughout the years who have overlooked other factors when assessing Guardiola’s managerial record.

He said: “There are many more things. First of all have an incredibly strong organisation with incredibly lovely people – the backroom staff, the staff, the players.

“But when you achieve what this club achieves in four years, winning a lot of games, you have to have top players.

“You can win one title with average players. To win a lot of titles you need top, top players and top players cost money. That was my reflection. It was not sarcastic, it was the truth.”

READ MORE: Guardiola criticised by Man City old boy

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