Pep Guardiola reveals what he said to get Man City back in form after conceding two unanswered goals to West Ham in the first half.
Half-time in Man City’s clash against West Ham was one that likely had Liverpool fans hugging their TVs, but if ever there was a man to spoil their fun, it was going to be Pep Guardiola.
With City 2-0 down from a pair of Jarrod Bowen strikes, Guardiola had to do something to get his side back on track and maintain their Premier League hopes.
“I said that goals can happen,” said Guardiola while discussing his half-time speech.
“They’re playing really well, don’t give up and if we score a goal, we’re in the game and it happened.”
🗣 “At half-time we would’ve taken a draw all day long.”
Jack Grealish on the potential for Manchester City to win the game after coming back from 2-0 down and Mahrez missing a penalty to win it pic.twitter.com/YqyEVnMen3
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) May 15, 2022
Beyond a few words to prevent his players from crumbling, Guardiola also revealed the tactical advice that he gave to his players most of which revolved around dealing with the width issues that City seemed to struggle with in the first half.
“Trust in our process, put the ball outside the runners, outside because the wingers close inside so put the ball into Riyad (Mahrez), to Jack (Grealish) and moments later to Gabby (Gabriel Jesus) inside the channels.
“Joao (Cancelo) and Oleks (Oleksandr Zinchenko) control the transitions, put the balls through them in their positions.
“This was the plan for the second half. Not quite as simple as the first half but nothing changed much.”
🗣 “I would say beat Liverpool 4-0.” 🤣
Pep Guardiola is asked to send a message to Southampton ahead of them facing Liverpool pic.twitter.com/EaO3pXsfGX
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) May 16, 2022
Guardiola seemed to opt for the old adage, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’
With a promising comeback on the cards, Guardiola decided to trust the system that was in place till the very end even if he was tempted to use a substitute.
“I started to think about putting Gundogan in because he’s an incredible runner in the central positions where they have a little bit of space there and the fact that (Declan) Rice and (Tomas) Soucek follow Kevin (De Bruyne) but the fact that we scored early on and Jack got his momentum and Riyad was participating more than the first half, I decided to continue.”
Man City now sit four points clear of Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table, although Guardiola’s side only have one game left compared to their rivals’ two.
Liverpool travel to Southampton on Tuesday, before hosting Wolves on Sunday, the same afternoon in which Man City host Aston Villa.