City boss Pep urges his boys to fire, not wait to fight back and win like they did v Spurs to close gap with Arsenal
Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez (centre) celebrates with teammates Jack Grealish (left) and Erling Haaland after scoring against Spurs at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday. Pics/Getty Images
Pep Guardiola says Manchester City must dig deep to match Arsenal’s hunger as they battle to close the gap on the Premier League leaders. City battled back from 2-0 down to beat Tottenham 4-2 on Thursday, with Riyad Mahrez scoring twice as the champions avoided a third straight defeat in all competitions. Guardiola’s side, who are five points behind leaders Arsenal, are chasing their fifth Premier League title in six years.
Four titles in five years
In contrast, Arsenal have not lifted the trophy since 2004 and the City boss believes that might have given Mikel Arteta’s men an edge in their surge to the top of the table. “We have the problem that we have four Premier Leagues in five years and Arsenal have two decades without anything,” said Guardiola, whose team play Arsenal in the FA Cup next week and the EPL in February.
‘Arsenal deserve it’
“I see the Arsenal games and they do everything good—that’s why they’re in front and they deserve it.” Aware his players need to fire on all cylinders as they hunt down Arsenal, Guardiola has called on City’s fans to give his team a boost with their vocal support. “Our fans have to push us, demand more, have to shout ‘Come on guys, I know how good you are, show us again’,” he said.
“We were lucky [against Spurs]. Nine times out of 10 you don’t come back there. We are able to do it, like we came back at Aston Villa and many times, but we are not able to do it every time. The players train really good but there is something here in the clouds, which you cannot express in a million details and we don’t have it right now. We miss it.”
Gunners host Man Utd
Arsenal, who also have a game in hand over City, host Manchester United on Sunday, with City at home to Wolves earlier on the same day.