Pep Guardiola has launched a staunch defence of his philosophy, insisting he would sooner quit Manchester City and go back to Spain than change his style.
The Catalan says he takes full responsibility for his side’s 4-0 defeat to Barcelona in midweek – City’s fourth game without a win – but they are decades away from being a force on a par with his hometown club.
Yet Guardiola insists he is delighted with his squad’s progress and says they are fully behind him as they sit top of the Premier League ahead of their clash with Southampton, live on Sky Sports.
Guardiola said: “What happens when I think about changing is that the solution is not better than what I believe.
“And do you know why as well? Because in seven years, I won 21 titles. Sorry guys. That’s three titles per year, playing this way. I am not going to change. I will go home before I change.
“You cannot imagine how difficult it is to build something. We are only three months together but my third year in Barcelona and Bayern Munich was better than my third month. After three months, you think it is all going to go well, we will dominate in the Camp Nou, beat teams 4-0? I’m good but not that good.
“I don’t think [I will achieve what I want to in three years]. But I don’t want to play like Barcelona. They play in that way with their players. Johan Cruyff started that in 89-90. We need decades to do that.
“What was working in Barca or Bayern is not working here because the players are totally different. I need time to know my players. I hear many times that ‘Pep is coming here to change English football’. Forget about it. I am not here to change anything. I will change my team so they can win and fight for the titles, in my way.”
Guardiola left out top-scorer Sergio Aguero for the 4-0 Champions League group stage defeat in the Nou Camp, and he was forced to explain that it was a tactical decision in the hope of achieving a result.
But he said: “I will always explain what is the truth. The mistakes are mistakes. The decision about Sergio Aguero? In the end we lost 4-0. I’m guilty. If we won in Barcelona? I’m a genius.
“Remember, after 10 games, people said were going to win four titles. But in that time I said we are not ready to win the Premier League and now we are four games without victory. It’s part of the process.
“I felt we had to create too much to score goals, and the opponent had to do little to receive goals. We have to improve in that because in the important games against important teams you don’t have many chances. The opponents are a machine. They don’t fail.
“Nobody said it was easy to win titles. It’s very difficult. But we are making good things and some good processes. They played with personality. They weren’t scared. They tried.
“What I feel is that they follow me. When I feel they don’t I will speak with the club. I speak fluently with the players, with what they think and believe. When they don’t play well I am honest with them.”