Manchester City’s triumph in the FIFA Club World Cup in Saudi Arabia has rekindled the team’s focus, according to manager Pep Guardiola. Following their success, City secured a 3-1 comeback victory against Everton, with goals from Phil Foden, Julian Alvarez, and Bernardo Silva. Guardiola expressed satisfaction with the team’s mentality, stating, “I have the feeling they still want to try.” The win propelled City back into the Premier League’s top four.
Reflecting on the team’s recent challenges, Guardiola shared insights from a conversation he overheard on the plane back from Saudi Arabia: “I listened to the players when they didn’t know I was listening, and they started to talk about Everton. I said, ‘wow, this is my team.'”
Despite criticisms of City’s form, Guardiola highlighted their impressive record, stating, “We have lost one of the last 13 (excluding the Club World Cup). We don’t talk enough about how good we are.”
However, the victory over Everton came at a cost, with defender John Stones sustaining an ankle injury. Guardiola expressed concern, saying, “It doesn’t look good, but we will see.”
Addressing the absence of key players like Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland, Guardiola provided updates, stating, “[Haaland] feels better, but he hasn’t had one training session with us. Kevin is close. We have to be careful.”
Regarding the controversial handball decision that led to Alvarez’s penalty, Guardiola acknowledged the contentious nature of such calls in the era of VAR. Everton manager Sean Dyche expressed frustration, stating, “How that is given as a penalty is bizarre in my world, but I must be from a different planet.”
Handball decisions, particularly in the context of VAR, have become a point of contention. Dyche remarked, “Someone needs to stand up at some point and realize that can’t be a penalty because he’s just throwing himself in front of it to try to block the ball.”