Pep Guardiola has warned any Manchester City players feeling complacent that they can be identified and dropped. City host Wolves on Tuesday hoping to extend their record number of consecutive wins to 21 and hold a 12-point lead over Manchester United in second place. Yet with 36 points left to play for, Guardiola is intent his side do not relax.
“This is the moment when I feel that [if] everyone is thinking, the job is done, or how good it is, then this guy is not going to play,” he said. “I’m so intuitive to know exactly the guys who are not ready to continue what we have to do.
“The champion is Liverpool, we are not. To do it [become champions] we still have to win eight, nine or 10 games – it’s a lot of games.
“There are incredible teams who struggle for four or five games to win games so it can happen to us too. Last season it happened and at the beginning of the season it happened. We were unable to win three games in a row in the first two months.”
With City still in contention to win an unprecedented quadruple of trophies, Guardiola said he will continue to drive his squad to become better. “Especially in the areas of the performance of the individuals, we can improve,” he said. “Every player can improve. Every player feels, ‘I can improve in some details’, because we work and they work on the things.
“The qualities they have, they know what they have to do to be better: sometimes they have to improve if the right is better than the left foot. First controls, the way you drive to make a dribble, right and left. When every individual player can improve, the team will improve. That’s why we can always do better.”
He added: “As much as we win and get results, we have to demand and be over the players and say we can do better.”
João Cancelo, Rodri, Bernardo Silva, Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden were among the first-team regulars to be rested for the victory over West Ham on Saturday. Guardiola was asked if his players are aware of his continuing scrutiny.
“We know each other quite well and they know how demanding I am,” he said. “We’ve had three sunny days in Manchester but we do not relax for one second. Tomorrow is an incredibly tough game and next Sunday against [Manchester] United. We saw yesterday against Chelsea how strong they are.”