Pep Guardiola opens up on huge departures of Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko
Pep Guardiola has lifted the lid on the summer departures of Raheem Sterling, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus, admitting his side will miss the title-winning trio next season.
However, the record-breaking Manchester City manager believes new signings Erling Haaland, Kalvin Phillips and Julian Alvarez will help the club challenge for a fifth Premier League title in seven seasons, despite refusing to adapt his style to the new arrivals.
City won the Premier League title for the fourth time under Guardiola last season by beating Liverpool in the hotly contested title race that went down to the last day.
Raheem Sterling (left) and Oleksandr Zinchenko have both enjoyed huge success at Man City
The first competitive game of the new season is just days away as City meet Jurgen Klopp’s side in the Community Shield at Wembley.
But Guardiola will rely on his new signings, including Haaland, to get going after treble exits which saw City earn more money from sales than any other side in the league during the transfer window.
Speaking to Manchester City’s website, Guardiola said: “There are decisions for the club and decisions for the players. I said from day one since I arrived here, you have to be where you want to be. be.
“All I can say about Raheem, Gabriel and Oleksandr is that everything we’ve done this season, without them wouldn’t have been possible.
‘Raheem made this outburst something incredible and unpredictable. I saw his ambition to score more goals and assists grow. I would say the impact of the way he played and never got injured was top notch.
Gabriel Jesus ended his five-year stay at City this summer by joining Arsenal
Pep Guardiola has guided Manchester City to four Premier League titles in six seasons
“Oleksandr arrived as a boy, he was loaned out to Holland, we wanted to sell him and he said no, I want to stay here.
“He was in the gym when everyone was sleeping, doing extra workouts and he said his time had come.
“His time has come and he was ready. He is a top player and we will miss him. As a guy, he can handle pressure incredibly well and he has incredible confidence.
“Gabriel is the nicest player I’ve ever worked with and it was a huge task to compete with Sergio Aguero.
“The young player from Brazil came to compete with him and he is the best attacking defender I have ever worked with in three positions. He plays five minutes and plays the best five minutes of his life.
“He can press three or four players in 10 seconds for 90 minutes and I have a feeling that in most cases they will be missed.” That’s life and their success will make us happy.
Top striking talent Erling Haaland to lead Man City attack next season
The acquisition of one of the hottest properties in the world in Haaland combined with the arrival of Phillips and versatile striker Alvarez softens the blow of losing the title winners.
Although Guardiola has warned his new stars that they will have to adapt to his style if they are to be as successful as their Manchester predecessors.
“We will not change the way we play.
“We will adapt these players. We want Erling Haaland, Kalvin Phillips and Julian Alvarez to give us the best version of it.
“The feeling is really good,” he said.
One player Guardiola knows he can definitely count on is Kevin De Bruyne, with the Spanish boss surprisingly hailing his Belgian playmaker as the best midfielder in the world.
The 31-year-old is the only player left at the club before Guardiola joined the Etihad in 2016.
De Bruyne helped City win four Premier League titles, the FA Cup and the League Cup five times during his time in England.
Guardiola hailed Kevin De Bruyne as the best midfielder in the world in a recent interview
Guardiola singled out the midfielder for particular praise, admitting his ‘normal guy’ personality is what makes him so well-liked by club members.
‘I might say yes [he is the best midfielder in the world]. I’m so happy and he’s the last player who’s still here since I arrived. Especially this year, he scored a lot of goals, not just assists.
“In important moments, especially in the Premier League, he was a key player. He’s more mature and understands the game perfectly at the moment. He now feels he’s a better player. He won’t admit it because he’s so shy.
“He doesn’t want to pretend to be different from who he is. I like working with players like Kevin who are top players and behave completely differently. He’s a normal guy and he likes play soccer.
Manchester City will kick off their Premier League title defense with a trip to West Ham United on August 7 as Guardiola and co aim for a third successive league title.