Josep Guardiola anticipates lower standards from Manchester City this season

    Pep Guardiola says Manchester City’s standards will inevitably drop after last season’s success.

    Boss City admits it’s unlikely his team can match the intensity with which they won Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League trophies last season as the new campaign kicks off.

    The Spaniard wants to make sure that City will do their job to further win trophies, and is not even thinking about the final goal yet.

    “We will definitely give it up,” said Guardiola, whose side started the fight for their sixth domestic title in seven years at Burnley on Friday.

    “It’s a little inevitable. We will try to avoid this as much as possible. Now it’s about not falling too hard – stay there, stay there, (be) close to our rivals.

    “Then try for the last four or five or six months to try to do what we did every season. I don’t want to do it now. This is my feeling.

    “Now (it would be) a big mistake to think about trophies and titles – a big mistake.”

    Guardiola also doesn’t want to set any goals for Erling Haaland in his second season at the club.

    The prolific Norwegian had an outstanding first year, scoring 52 goals in just 53 matches.

    Guardiola said: “I would advise him not to put too much pressure on goals. I told Erling come back at your best, physically and mentally. If you score, fine. If you don’t score, fine.

    “Try to improve in your details, in your qualities and skills, and the team will help you to score goals as much as possible. I don’t want to (ask) Erling for 50 or 60.

    “Try to be happy like he was last season and relax. After that, the goals will come by themselves, don’t force it.”

    Concerns have been raised this week about the potential impact on players of a decree that referees need to be stricter when extra time is added.

    Guardiola himself believes that the amount added to the Community Shield against Arsenal last weekend was excessive.

    He said, “Why eight minutes and not 12 or four? I don’t know exactly what happened. There was one goal and four or five substitutions, but no injuries.

    “If you want to control it, do it like basketball – stop the clock.

    “If they play 10 minutes (extra) we will, but we end up playing 41 games instead of 38 this season.”

    The ongoing expansion of the football calendar, along with pre-season tours, is also further limiting player breaks.

    Guardiola said: “Many players have asked me, ‘Give me more days off, Pep.’ I said I can’t.

    “It’s a problem. It’s getting worse – more games, more games and so on. Players need to go to the theater, to the cinema, to the park, to the gardens, to do other things that are not related to football.”

    Guardiola, however, insists that when it comes to his team’s additional exhibition matches this season – next week’s European Super Cup and the Club World Cup in December – he is honored to be involved.

    “I like it,” he said. “I love playing in the Super Bowl. This club has never won the Super Bowl and of course you have to win the Champions League to play in the Club World Cup. This opportunity is a pleasure.”

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