Pep Guardiola understands the criticism of his club, even after Man City has pasted Porto and Marseille to open life in this season’s UEFA Champions League.
The latest came with City getting starring roles from two-assist Kevin De Bruyne and 1-goal, 1-assist Ferran Torres in addition to the center back pairing of Ruben Dias and Aymeric Laporte.
De Bruyne and Laporte are arguably City’s two most important players and have only started two matches together this season, the rain-drenched 1-1 draw at Leeds and Tuesday’s win.
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The problem has been having both available. De Bruyne missed much of the 2018-19 title campaign while Laporte was hurt for much of 2019-20.
City’s record with Laporte in the lineup is 68W-14L-5D.
Its record with De Bruyne and Laporte appearing is 47W-2D-10L.
Those are impressive, and De Bruyne (leg) and Laporte (COVID-19) have been absent for much of City’s early-season struggles.
Guardiola can’t blame it all on injuries and illnesses, but he deserves some credit for not doing just that. After saying Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling were exceptional in Tuesday’s win, also noting that Laporte was good and saying Kyle Walker is in “the best form since we’ve been together,” he offered this:
“We have to accept the criticism,” Guardiola said. “We play every three days, when you win it’s good but if you don’t people want to destroy everything. But it’s about the chairman and everyone else understanding. Part of the criticism was right, but you’ve got to accept it. It’s part of our job. It’s about where we’ve come from in the last month, with lack of preparation, injuries and COVID-19 but the Champions League is in a good place now. I’m sure we’re going to find that consistency.”
For Guardiola, whose City teams has now scored 602 goals in 242 matches — 179 of them wins — he’ll know that victories solve more than consistency.
Guardiola’s men head to Bramall Lane to face Sheffield United on Saturday before Olympiacos visits the Etihad Stadium on Nov. 3.