Pep Guardiola sends damning message to Jurgen Klopp and Mikel Arteta with ‘failure’ jibe

Manchester City have lost hold on title rivals Arsenal and Liverpool after a tough winless streak but manager Pep Guardiola knows what is expected of his team in their defence of the title.

It wasn’t quite as brutal as Jose Mourinho calling Arsene Wenger a specialist in failure – but the message Pep Guardiola has sent to Mikel Arteta and Jurgen Klopp is just as damning.

‌The Manchester City boss believes his team’s unrivalled excellence over the last seven seasons means they are judged to a higher standard than rivals like Arsenal and Liverpool.

Winning, according to Guardiola, is now seen as the only option for a club that has lifted five Premier League titles in six seasons – while for other managers it is allowed to be the exception.

“The only team who is going to fail by not winning the Premier League is us,” said the City manager as he contemplated how the drama of three successive draws became a crisis after defeat at Aston Villa.

“For the rest it’s a big success – any team. Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea don’t win everything – but that’s normal.

“City should win. That isn’t fair. It’s difficult to handle every week, every three days, during years and years.

“(What we have done) is exceptional, but their positions are normal. Just look at our rivals, who want to win once, while for us it’s important to always be there – and we have to continue that.

“Bad moments are there, so I never believe in the big compliments and I never believe in the bad situations. In football and in sporting life, the most difficult thing is to win and win and win.

“We have done it for many years, where we were the main candidates to win everything. When we went out in the Champions League semi-finals it was a big disaster because it wasn’t up to our levels. What it meant to us it didn’t mean for others, my friends. Not at all.”

Klopp has one title and two second-placed finishes to show for his eight years at Anfield. Arteta was handed heartbreak when his Arsenal team collapsed under the pressure of City’s perfect form in last season’s run-in.

City face Luton at Kenilworth Road with Guardiola bullish about his team’s prospects of another New Year surge to glory despite a churn to his squad that was more vigorous than he had planned.

Ilkay Gundogan rejected a new contract to join Barcelona, while Riyad Mahrez opted to seek another fortune in Saudi Arabia.

Aymeric Laporte and Cole Palmer were allowed to leave, leaving Guardiola needing to bed new signings Josko Gvardiol, Jeremy Doku, Matheus Nunes and Mateo Kovacic into his team. Injury to Kevin De Bruyne and two suspensions for Rodri have further complicated issues.

But Guardiola warned: “I’ve got a lot of trust in myself. I will help the team – I don’t know how but I’ll help the team to come back. Will it be enough? I don’t know, the contenders are so strong.

“The consistency of Arsenal over the past two seasons has been amazing and Liverpool are back – and I knew it from day one. I need to step back to realise ‘come on Pep, wake up, there’s something wrong’.

“But the title is not lost. Six points? Okay. Arsenal’s consistency might be a worry but it’s not the end of the world.

“That’s why we have to be positive in our minds and the players have to show me they want to accept and embrace the challenge. That’s what I want to see. It’s a good warning for me. If I’m not able to do it, the club will decide what to do. In the end you have to get results.”



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