Football

Pep: If you don’t win, you’re in trouble

Guardiola admits he could be sacked if results don't improve

Pep Guardiola claims not even he is immune to the sack as he grapples with poor form for the first time in his managerial career.

After Manchester City admitted they began their pursuit of Guardiola in 2012 when they appointed him earlier this year, the expensively acquired Catalan is likely to be given plenty of time in his current role.

But, after winning just four of his last 15 games, the man who knew nothing but success in glittering spells at Barcelona and Bayern Munich is finding himself and his methods under scrutiny.

"Our job is not easy. For all the managers around the world, this kind of situation happens," Guardiola said before this morning's (Singapore time) clash with Watford at the Etihad Stadium.

"It's the first time in my life that I don't win regularly.

PEP STICKS TO GAMEPLAN

"In the big companies and the big businesses in the world, if something doesn't work you have to find a solution and normally the guy who has to go is the guy who has to help the players reach the best level.

"The last month, I have to accept the results have not gone well. Long-term projects do not exist in football. You have to win immediately and, if you don't win, you are in trouble.

"Then another guy has to be in charge because you have to win. The boss and the chairman are going to decide."

After winning 21 trophies with Barca and Bayern, Guardiola arrived at City generally regarded as the best coach in the world.

His reputation should safeguard him as he tries to remodel the side both in terms of personnel and playing style, and, for now, he feels he has the full backing of the club.

He is convinced that if they are patient with him, he will reward them.

He said: "I feel like they trust me, but the reality is that you have to win. Anything can happen. Our position depends on the results, but I don't leave.

"When I arrived here, the same as Barcelona, I stay all my contract. I have never been sacked. We won a lot. Next season will be better, two years will be even better."

City's 4-2 loss at Leicester last Saturday brought considerable criticism, particularly concerning the side's defending.

Guardiola has made clear that, in his philosophy, defence is not important if the rest of the side is functioning well.

Sustained possession would make it largely redundant.

Yet that was not the case at the King Power Stadium and critics have suggested City should spend more time working on defensive shape and other fundamentals, such as tackling.

Guardiola is determined to defy them and stick to his guns.

He said: "When I started in Barca, we didn't win at first and people criticised me... You can't imagine what they said.

"In Bayern Munich when I didn't win the Champions League, when they expected to win it, people (criticised).

"So when I arrived here, I didn't expect the English media to be sweet with me when I didn't win.

"With the results of the last month and a half, I expect that.

"But I have enough energy to fight. We are going to play the way I feel. I cannot do something I don't feel."

Meanwhile, City and EPL leaders Chelsea have been fined over the touchline brawl that erupted at the end of their league game on Dec 3, when the Blues won 3-1.

Chelsea were fined £100,000 (S$180,000) and City £35,000 for "failing to ensure their players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion and/or refrained from provocative behaviour".

A shoving match ensued after City striker Sergio Aguero launched himself at David Luiz towards the end of the game.

Aguero and his teammate Fernandinho were sent off. Aguero was given a four-game ban for his foul on Luiz, while Fernandinho got a three-game suspension for shoving Cesc Fabregas over an advertising hoarding. - WIRE SERVICES

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