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Pep Guardiola makes surprise admission regarding Manchester City’s defensive woes



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Pep Guardiola was quick to dismiss the idea that Manchester City need to keep more clean sheets.

The Etihad outfit have failed to keep the ball out of the net in the majority of their games this season, a major shift from the 2022/23 treble-winning campaign in which defensive solidity was the side’s strongpoint.

While they conceded only 33 goals in 38 games in the Premier League last season, the Blues have already let in 31 through just 24 games so far this campaign, a pace that will see them easily clear last year’s impressive mark.

City boss Pep Guardiola is not too worried about it, however. Speaking ahead of Brentford’s visit to the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League on Tuesday night, Guardiola dismissed the idea that clean sheets are the most important metric.

“No, we love to have clean sheets,” Guardiola said. “All the teams want it, we’re not an exception. We want the clean sheets and concede few and not concede goals; we want it.

“But at the end, what we want is to win games. Sometimes you have period where you’re defending well but you concede goals, and sometimes you don’t concede.

“Never since I arrived I was focussed on clean sheets, the players know it. We know it, but I don’t go to the players and say, ‘We have to take clean sheets!’

“If you say just clean sheets, clean sheets, they forget to play. They forget, always just defending and they forget what they have to do.

“And what you have to do is play better, and better, and better, and concede few, and attack better and create more chances. This is my target every time I make a meeting with them or prepare a game.”

Despite their statistical regression at the back, Manchester City remain in a comfortable position as they head into the business end of the campaign. Should they down the Bees on Tuesday night, City will move to within one point of Premier League leaders Liverpool.

Meanwhile on the European front, Pep Guardiola’s side have a commanding 3-1 aggregate lead over FC Copenhagen in the Champions League round of 16.