Pep Guardiola shares secret to Manchester City’s incredible form

Pep Guardiola has said that his Manchester City side reverted “back to the principles” before going on their club-record winning run of form.

Since drawing 1-1 with West Bromwich Albion in early December, Guardiola’s men have not lost for 21 games in all competitions.

The streak has seen them rise to the top of the Premier League, where they currently sit 14 points clear of second-placed Manchester United.

Guardiola explained how the West Brom result led to a change in approach from his side.

Speaking to Rio Ferdinand on BT Sport, he explained: “In that moment we realised we were not brilliant and everything was heavy, in terms of it was not natural.

“So we adjusted something especially to put more players in front of the box.

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“But especially it was the day after the West Brom game at home – we drew 1-1, we could have won – I went to myself and my staff and friends, I said: ‘I don’t like the team’.

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“‘I don’t like the way we play. It doesn’t matter about the results, I don’t like it. I don’t recognise my team the way we should play.’

“We just came back to the principles. A, B, C, that’s all.

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“So wingers high and wide, and a lot of players in the middle.

“Coming back without the ball, run like animals, and with the ball, be more calm, more passes, think more about what we have to do.

“The quality of the players, they win one game, their confidence [goes up], you know that, another one, another one, another one.

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“But I think the West Brom [game], I reflected and I said: ‘I don’t like at all what I’m watching’.”

Defence solidity an important factor

One feature of City’s impressive form has been the improvement in their defence.

Last season, Guardiola’s side conceded 35 goals in the top flight, with only Premier League champions Liverpool shipping fewer.

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But they lost the services of centre-back Aymeric Laporte for most of the campaign due to a knee injury, and conceded two or more goals on eight occasions.

City started this season poorly, with Leicester scoring five times at the Etihad Stadium in September and a 2-0 loss to Jose Mourinho‘s Tottenham Hotspur left them in 13th position in the Premier League.

The addition of Ruben Dias from Benfica, however, will go down as arguably the signing of the season.

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And since the Tottenham defeat, the Citizens have conceded just six league goals.

Guardiola paid tribute to the defence and explained the reasons behind the improvement.

He said: “The opponent has to score because they are good, but we’re not giving them the chance so easily to score goals.

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“That is the big improvement from Ruben, Aymeric, John [Stones] as well – John especially – and of course Kyle [Walker] and the left-backs.

“So everyone is doing better.”

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