City can get even better, says Guardiola

Agence France-Presse . London | Published: 00:05, Aug 07,2018 | Updated: 00:44, Aug 07,2018

 
 

Manchester City players celebrate with the Community Shield trophy at the Wembley Stadium in London on Saturday. — Reuters photo

Pep Guardiola has warned Manchester City’s Premier League rivals that the champions are still well below their peak despite powering to a 2-0 win over Chelsea in the Community Shield.
Guardiola’s team wrapped up their pre-season preparations by sweeping aside Chelsea in the prestigious friendly at Wembley on Sunday.
Sergio Aguero’s early opener and a second-half strike from the Argentina forward -- goals that took his career haul for City to 201 -- ensured the title favourites picked up where they left off in last season’s record-breaking campaign.
But ominously for Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester United -- all hoping to dethrone City -- Guardiola revealed his players are still well short of full fitness after only a handful of training sessions following the World Cup.
‘We are satisfied, but still we are far away from the (best) physical condition. The players are in bad, bad conditions,’ Guardiola said.
‘We didn’t train a lot this week. We wanted to arrive fresh in this heat.
It’s complicated for all of them but they are so competitive. It’s not easy to play after such a short time. My hat’s off to them.
‘We have seven days to train this week and hopefully we can increase that level.
‘Now we focus on Arsenal. The training? Two sessions a day.’
Whatever their fitness issues, City looked slick enough in the sweltering north London sunshine as they ran Chelsea ragged.
Guardiola’s men could have won by five and, ahead of their Premier League opener at Arsenal on Sunday, the Spaniard plans to strengthen his already formidable squad even further.
Having signed Algeria winger Riyad Mahrez from Leicester earlier in pre-season, Guardiola wants a defensive midfielder to increase his options in that area.
Asked if City would swoop before Thursday’s transfer deadline, Guardiola said: ‘I don’t know. We are trying to find maybe one more.
‘We don’t have players to substitute Fernandinho.
‘When we take decisions it doesn’t depend on one victory or defeat.’
With Aguero becoming the first City player to break the 200-goal barrier, Guardiola saluted the club’s record scorer for the latest display of his predatory instincts.
‘We were really impressed when he arrived for pre-season. Often he needs time for his physical condition. He arrived so sharp, so good,’ he said.
‘He feels free. It’s good news for us.’
While Aguero hogged the Wembley spotlight, there was also an eye-catching display from Phil Foden.
City’s 18-year-old midfielder has long been tipped for stardom and Guardiola believes the England Under-17 World Cup winner is on the brink of a breakthrough campaign.
‘Phil is part of the first team. He played a few games last season and now he is more mature. He did really well,’ Guardiola said.

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