The manager of Manchester City, Pep Guardiola, has revealed that the secret behind the good defensive record of his club is possessive football.
The Spanish tactician noted that the more a team is with the ball, the less likely the opposing team would threaten the defense of such a team. He said his target is to ensure that his players play 60 meters away from their box-eighteen.
Manchester City have conceded the least amount of goals so far this season. Pep Guardiola and his boys have conceded just 13 goals in the Premier League this season and they have scored 39 goals which mean that the club currently enjoys 26 goals difference.
The magnificent defensive form has helped Manchester City to win 14 league games, draw 5, and only suffered 2 defeats in 21 league games. They have been enjoying an unbeaten run since December 2020 until now. Hence, City is currently topping the league table with 47 points.
Ahead of Manchester City league match against 4th placed Liverpool, Pep Guardiola who chased after Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool last season and couldn’t catch up with Liverpool that ended up champions of the league, noted that “What works last season will not necessarily work this season”.
He stressed that though he likes his team to play “60 meters in front” of his team’s goal, he sometimes prefers the team to play inside it or outside it depending on the team his team is playing against.
Pep Guardiola noted that the secret to defending better is to play better which means that the Spanish tactician who enjoys a great defensive record while coaching Barcelona and Bayern Munich, pays more attention to playing better than defending well.
“The reason why [our defensive record is so good] is because 67 percent of the time we have the ball,” Guardiola said. “This is the main reason. The main reason is that we have the ball. If you have the ball as much as possible then the opponent does not have the ball.
“Of course, the opponent can score from set-pieces or a counter-attack but the more that you have the ball the more chances you will have to score a goal. This is the reason why.
“Maybe one day they will change the rules but I think to score a goal you need the ball…
“You cannot win the titles, especially the titles of the Premier League and the Bundesliga if you concede a lot of goals. Last season we conceded more than usual and we didn’t adjust well to some things. But if you look at the goals that we conceded in all of our years here in Manchester, in Munich, in Barcelona, it was always few. Few, few, few.
“And we did it playing 50 or 60 meters in front of our goal, and always we were stable defensively. Absolutely, I do not want to concede goals. And I want to score a lot. That is what we are working for with good quality players who want to have the ball.”
Pep Guardiola will go face to face with Jurgen Klopp at Anfield Stadium today, February 7, 2021, when Liverpool play against Manchester City at 17:30. A win for Manchester City will further establish City as this season’s main Premier League title contender.