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Wayne Rooney’s Man City invite and a goalscoring demand – Embargoed section: Pep Guardiola’s Bournemouth preview part two



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Pep Guardiola has made a public invite to Wayne Rooney to join Manchester City at any time, speaking during part two of his pre-Bournemouth media duties.

The Manchester City boss has been preparing his side to continue their chase of Liverpool at the top of the Premier League, with Jurgen Klopp’s side sitting four points ahead of the pack following victory over Luton Town in midweek.

The reigning champions can move back to within a point with a win over the Cherries this weekend with Liverpool in action at Wembley Stadium in the Carabao Cup final against Chelsea.

Speaking during his match preview, Guardiola has addressed the likes of Wayne Rooney becoming a City assistant coach, as well as the club’s necessity to score more goals following 56 shots in their last two games, resulting in just two efforts landing in the back of the net.

Ahead of Manchester City’s trip to the Vitality Stadium this Saturday evening, here is every word from the second-half of Pep Guardiola’s pre-match press conference at the City Football Academy.

On the difficult of bringing together all elements of a club to have Manchester City’s success

“If you don’t have success, all the elements of the club are not together. It’s impossible. It doesn’t belong to one player, one manager, one everything; it belongs to every detail that have to be on the same path and aligned all of them, otherwise it’s more and more difficult. Especially not just difficult for a short period, but for a long period, it’s impossible.

(Does that leadership start from the top?) Yeah, absolutely. People think about it coming from the manager because he’s talking here six times a week, that is insane. It’s no sense, I would say. But, anyway… It is what it is. The people believe it comes from here, but it comes from (above), choosing in the right department the best people for the same idea, and after that with the power that they have at many, many, many clubs, the rest is a question of work, work, and work.”

On conceding after being so dominant through a counter-attack

“Maybe they attack a little bit quicker, maybe, but it happens. I remember in Newcastle it happened, I don’t know. I didn’t think about it, honestly. Of course I don’t like the fast breaks and when they make transitions, I don’t like it obviously, but sometimes they attack quicker, sometimes… Always I give credit to the opponents as well, it’s not just about us. Opponents are really good and make transitions and do it. Always we try to do it. But yeah, I will try to think about it. I didn’t think about it.”

On whether losing duels contributes to conceding from fast breaks

“Yeah when I analysed for 45 minutes against Chelsea, yes, but we make in general concept. The analysis from one player or myself in 45 minutes we conceded more transitions, we have had that problem, honestly I don’t know. I don’t believe it. It happens.

“Maybe we could not do, our build-up was not proper and maybe our pressing was not in some moments, or the same. Maybe it’s because Chelsea did really well; it’s true that Chelsea in both games, especially there (at Stamford Bridge), in the first 45 minutes is a team who creates more of this type of transitions that we are not used to for the quality of Raheem (Sterling) or Cole (Palmer) or the other ones.

“But it’s not, I would say, an element that happens quite often. For example, Brentford with the keeper in good transitions did not happen, and the last game with Chelsea, and the last game we played against Brentford as well there… Yeah I know, when you control the game and you are good at build-up and you set the opponent there, the only way they can punish you is the transitions. It’s not much of that.

“Brighton for example, they can do it, but Brighton is the team that brings you deeper and back, so the transition is less. It depends a little bit on what happens, but in general my feeling in seven or eight years is we control it really, really well.”

On Manchester City have 56 shots on goal in the last two games, scoring two goals

“We have to score more. With this creativity, I think – not on target – but shots and in those positions in the last two games, we should do more. But what is important is the same, like the goals conceded, how many chances we concede, how is the average, and as much you create and as less you concede, you are all the time closer to winning the games because to do that you have to play better, to defend better. This is important.

“I know there are a lot of things that there’s a lot of movements, I don’t pay too much attention to that, I don’t pay much. But the fact of how many shots, how much we create, we create more than the opponent, we concede less than the opponent, this is a good analysis to do. After, we can win, we can lose, but when you create more and concede less, you are closer to winning the game.”

On goal difference deciding the Premier League title race

“Yeah, always happens. It happened in the past with Liverpool when we won for a small margin, always it was a concept and right now we are below both teams, yeah.”

On Ederson being at the peak of his powers

“It’s not necessary to say how important Eddie has been all this period with us. He’s stable, and consistent, and now we have an incredible, incredible other keeper in Stefan Ortega. Everytime he plays, he shows and proves his quality but Ederson of course is massively important in our success in the last years… in everything, in all details; character, personality, and everything.”

On the importance of him staying at the top for so long and looking at everyone else

“It’s the most important thing. It’s the proof we’re doing… The most difficult thing in sport is that people believe you have to win and win, and the second for a long, long time being there. That we cannot deny it. We have been there, still we are there. Still we are there! After what happened in seven, eight years, few clubs can do it, few clubs can do it. And we are there, that’s why it’s the biggest title, prize, and everything, and the biggest contenders, they know it, how difficult it is.”

On other sports/past-times he looks to for influence

“Yeah, incredible athletes, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, the biggest dynasties in NBA, it’s not easy in the NBA to have a team, maybe Chicago Bulls and Jordan… I’m not comparing to that, don’t misunderstand me, but for the fact that it’s difficult even in NBA with all the clubs having two or three or four in a row. In Spain, in Italy, always it’s difficult to arrive in Europe being there for a long time in domestic leagues, like especially in the Premier League, it’s so nice! That means a lot for all of us.”

On the importance of keeping a relatively small, tight hierarchy at Manchester City during Pep Guardiola’s stay

“Yeah, of course it’s important, I have to speak with one or two persons and no more than that, and underneath or below from CEO, they have important people and Txiki (Begiristain) sporting director has a leader below him, important people, in the academy there are important people. The importance in every department tries to be the best to improve being the best.

“It doesn’t mean that when you hire someone, it’s exceptional but can learn, we can learn from him but he can learn from, or they can learn from all the club. It’s a process that continues. I’m a better manager now than eight years ago; I know the Premier League better, I know my players better, I know my opponents better, I learn a lot in many, many things from my assistant managers. That is a process. But I cannot waste time talking with 20 people, just one or two is enough, and they have to talk with the other ones. It is what it is.”

On not paying too much attention to statistics

“No the big data, all the analysis after the game or before the game, I pay a little bit of attention but  not much. At the end the people say, ‘Ah you could have scored a lot of goals today and didn’t score it!’ Yeah, that’s good, but you have to score. ‘Ah but you have the best team defensively’, but you lose a game, and lose a game.

“At the end, yeah, it gives you an idea, ok how is the team moving but at the end sometimes it’s a feeling. Always I say you are human beings and human beings have feelings, and the feelings are not in big data. And sometimes you have to pay a lot of attention to the person, the body languages, how is the mood, that in the end makes this kind of things and big data better. This is the only thing I try to do.”

On Wayne Rooney saying he’d walk from his house to work with Pep Guardiola

“I don’t know where he lives! (I think he lives in Cheshire somewhere) In Cheshire, it’s close. He can come any time, he’s more than welcome!” (Nice to hear things like that) For all of City, of course it’s important. But he’s a Red Devil, so he’s United, yes or yes. But of course, it’s nice for all of us. Wayne Rooney has been one of the greatest in this country for all time.

“So he makes compliments for all of us, of course it’s nice. It comes from, what he said, being with them for many years, and he knows because he was there. He was in United, how many years? Won one Premier League, Wayne Rooney? I don’t think so! He won a lot of Premier Leagues, so that means how difficult it is to be there and that’s why he knows how difficult it is.”