Pep Guardiola claims there would be no point staying at Manchester City if he did not think he could improve his players anymore.
City have stormed to the top of the Premier League with an unbeaten and goal-laden start to the campaign, while Tuesday’s 2-1 win over Napoli made it three out of three in the Champions League.
Guardiola labelled last weekend’s 7-2 demolition of Stoke City as the best performance of his tenure and praised his players as “perfect” after beating Serie A frontrunners Napoli.
Nevertheless, speaking at a news conference ahead of City’s home match against Burnley on Saturday, the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss made no bones over expecting more from his in-form squad.
“I said many times over the last weeks, we played good in the last games but always we can improve,” Guardiola said.
“That is the reason why we are here – if we believe that it’s done it makes no sense to keep going, to stay.
“Always we can do better. Hopefully we can maintain that level in the next games.”
— Manchester City (@ManCity) October 20, 2017
Having struggled on the road last season, Burnley started this term by beating champions Chelsea, while they also took a share of the spoils at Liverpool and Tottenham before edging Everton 1-0 at Goodison Park.
“What they do, they do really well. They are masters at attacking the channels, the second balls and set-pieces. They always defend with a lot of people in the box,” Guardiola said.
“It is so complicated to attack them because they are physically strong. We have to try to be dynamic, play quick and take an advantage because when they score goals, after they defend really well and it is so complicated to score goals.
“Their results away are fantastic.”
Guardiola refused to confirm whether wholesale changes were on the agenda in the midst of a busy period for City.
Sergio Aguero is fit to start after recovering from his broken rib, although Vincent Kompany remains on the sidelines with a calf injury and his manager was unable to give any prognosis on a potential return date.
Another player on the sidelines is Benjamin Mendy, who is recuperating from cruciate knee ligament surgery, although the France left-back has remained a buoyant presence on social media – much to Guardiola’s amusement.
Bionic legs coming soon pic.twitter.com/qx1Sh3qnaD
— Benjamin Mendy (@benmendy23) October 18, 2017
“Usually long-term injured players they are sad and train apart so they feel isolated,” he said.
“But in the case of Mendy he decides to be present through social media. He calls his team-mates, he sends WhatsApp messages – even to me – he stays in touch.
“He is going to continue being important outside the pitch. People like him make the atmosphere in the dressing room much better.”
Asked about Mendy nicknaming City the “Shark Team”, a label that has prompted the appearance of shark inflatables and associated fancy dress at recent matches, Guardiola added: “I really don’t know. You must ask Mendy when he’s around.
“We just have to play well and win and the rest I really don’t know.”