Club World Cup allowed Man City to refocus, says boss Guardiola



Thu, 28 Dec 2023 - 10:19 GMT


Thu, 28 Dec 2023 - 10:19 GMT

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith/File Photo

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith/File Photo

(Reuters) - Going to Saudi Arabia for the Club World Cup helped Manchester City pull themselves together and refocus, manager Pep Guardiola said after the champions got their Premier League campaign back on track with a 3-1 comeback victory over Everton on Wednesday.


In their first match since winning the Club World Cup, City climbed back into the league's top four thanks to second-half goals by Phil Foden, Julian Alvarez and Bernardo Silva.



City moved above Tottenham Hotspur into fourth place with 37 points from 18 games, five behind leaders Liverpool, having played a game less.


City's quest for an unprecedented fourth successive league title hit turbulence before Christmas with a defeat by third-placed Aston Villa and draws against Tottenham and Crystal Palace, but Guardiola was pleased with the mentality his players showed at Goodison Park.


"I remember on the plane coming back from Saudi Arabia, I listened to the players when they didn't know I was listening, and they started to talk about Everton," Guardiola said.


"I said 'wow, this is my team'. I have the feeling they still want to try.


"We play many games this season and people say we are not the same. We have lost one of the last 13 (excluding the Club World Cup). We don't talk enough about how good we are."


The win against Everton came at a cost with defender John Stones being forced off due to an injury against his former club.


"It doesn't look good, but we will see. It's his ankle," Guardiola told Amazon Prime.


The European champions, who also won the UEFA Super Cup this year, have missed the influence of injured Belgian playmaker Kevin De Bruyne while a foot problem has denied them the services of Norwegian goal machine Erling Haaland recently.


"He (Haaland) feels better, but he hasn't made one training session with us," he said. "Hopefully, in January, he can come back with us.


"Kevin is close... we have to be careful. If you don't handle the timings good, you can get injured again."


City next host promoted Sheffield United on Saturday.



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