Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola insists he is still happy at the club.
City are fourth in the Premier League – their lowest position since the end of Guardiola’s first season in 2017 – and a 3-1 loss to Liverpool a fortnight ago left them nine points behind the Reds.
“Why should people think I’m not happy? Because we lost at Anfield or I’ve lost three games this season?” he said before Saturday’s match with Chelsea.
“That’s an odd reason to say I’m not happy or satisfied – I want to stay.”
After winning back-to-back titles and smashing goals and points records along the way last year, Guardiola insists he is liking the “challenge” of this season.
City broke the Premier League points record in 2017-18 when they became the first club in English top-flight history to reach 100 for the season. It took another 98 to edge out Liverpool last term.
From their present position, Guardiola knows the odds of City joining Huddersfield, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United as the only sides to win three championships in a row are slim.
But that just fuels his passion for the job – and Guardiola says he is intent on seeing out the remainder of his contract, which expires in 2021, at the very least.
“We don’t have a joker in our pocket,” he said.
“I know, all around the world, people are saying the Premier League is done.
“But if people think I am going to resign for these results, they don’t know me. I like this challenge. I love to be in this position. If the club wants me next season, I want to be here 100%.”
‘I want to work and live in Manchester’
Guardiola’s managerial history makes him virtually un-sackable.
Yet the exit of Mauricio Pochettino on Tuesday, less than six months after taking Tottenham to the first Champions League final in their history, underlined how quickly managers can come under intense pressure if results go badly.
In addition, the knowledge that Guardiola resigned as Barcelona manager in 2012 after four years in the job, citing burnout, has created uncertainty around the Catalan, leading to suggestions his time in Manchester may come to an abrupt end at the end of the current campaign, his fourth in England.
Guardiola could not be any more emphatic in his denials.
“I want to live in this city,” he said.
“There are lovely people here. I want to work and live with them. I want to help this club get better.”
The City boss could not be any more certain either, about the merits of his squad.
When he was asked why that was the case, given results and performances have been so patchy this season, Guardiola oozed defiance.
“I see things you cannot,” he said. “I am there at every training session. I am in the locker room. I am at the games. I have plans. Sometimes they work and we don’t win. Sometimes they are a disaster and we do. I have the information. That’s the reason.”