Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City’s lowest goal return at the start of a Premier League campaign for 14 years is down to his failure to find a fluid way for his team to play.
City have scored only 10 times in their opening eight matches, the lowest since the 2006-7 season, with goal difference at -1. Yet they are in impressive form in the Champions League, knowing victory at Olympiakos on Wednesday would take them to 12 points and guarantee qualification.
Guardiola denied the lack of league goals is down to lack of courage before goal. “The players are so brave,” he said. “The reason [for this] is the manager – I have to find a way, use their qualities and adapt. I have to adjust something, to let them feel we can create more. It’s in my hands to help.
“We know we are a team who last season scored a lot but now we are struggling. We have to find solutions. We have the players to find the right way to attack more fluently and I have the feeling we can score goals. The way we play is quite good, I’m quite happy. Sometimes we need clear chances to score.
“But the moment we break one or two of these kinds of things we will get better. The season is still young and I’m fully optimistic we are going to have a good season.”
City lost 2-0 at Tottenham on Saturday, the second deriving from a counterattack. The manager denied opponents have worked out this is a vulnerability.
Guardiola said: “They run [break] two times in 90 minutes. The second one they were brilliant - the courage from Harry Kane [to drop deep and create]. They had four shots and two goals: congratulations.
“All teams defend deep – except Liverpool, Chelsea – and you have to find a way to avoid it. That’s not the big problem right now; it’s our fluidity to attack and create more chances. I have to know exactly what we have to do and how to help them to do it.”
In four attempts Guardiola has not taken City beyond the Champions League quarter-finals. He denied guiding the club to a first European Cup triumph preys on him. “It’s not an obsession,” he said. “We want to do the best [we can].” Only the injured Nathan Aké is unavailable.