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Guardiola: We need to have Arsenal's fire

Mark Orlovac 20 Jan 2023
Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

Man City manager wants his champions to match leaders' hunger as the title race hots up

Pep Guardiola says his Manchester City side need to match the desire being shown by league leaders Arsenal if they are to retain their Premier League title.

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Second-placed City kept up their chase of the Gunners with a 4-2 victory over Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday night but only after conceding two quickfire goals at the end of a passive first half.

The result means City are five points behind Arsenal, but having played a match more.

City can reduce the gap to two points on Sunday as they host Wolverhampton Wanderers before Arsenal take on third-placed Manchester United later in the day.

Race for the title

Pos Team Pl GD Pts
1 MCI 38 +61 89
2 ARS 38 +45 84
3 MUN 38 +15 75
4 NEW 38 +35 71
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But Guardiola feels a change in approach is required from his players if they are to do so.

"I'm incredibly happy with the result, but it's not about that," Guardiola said. "Do you think we are going to chase the gap to Arsenal the way we are playing? No way.

"We have an opponent in Arsenal who have the fire. Two decades without winning the Premier League.

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"I want to beat Arsenal but if we play like that, Arsenal will destroy us. I said last week I don't care about the Premier League - I want to see my team.

"I am explaining the reality, everything is so comfortable but opponents don’t wait. I don't recognise my team, they [previously] had the passion and desire to run."

And as well as imploring his team to improve, Guardiola has called on the City fans and others at the club to play their part in creating the spark needed to hunt Arsenal down.

He said: "Our fans have to push us, demand more, shout, 'Come on guys, you know how good you are, show us again!'

“I want a reaction from all the club, not just the players, the whole organisation. We're a 'happy flowers' organisation! I don't want to be 'happy flowers!'

"We are far, far away from being able to compete at the highest level. [We lacked] guts, passion, fire, desire to win from minute one. The same with the City fans, they are silent for 45 minutes. I want my fans back."

After listening to Guardiola's comments, former Man City winger Shaun Wright-Phillips agrees that the team need to improve if they are going to win their fifth PL title in six years.

"Pep knows his team, he wants everything back to how it was," he said.

"A lot of people this year have been saying that something is missing [at Man City], he's just told you what he thinks is missing."

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