Pep Guardiola admitted Manchester doesn’t have a ‘weapon’ like Romelu Lukaku – and believes his bosses know they need to sign a striker next summer.
City have failed to replace Sergio Aguero this season, as Tottenham were determined to keep Harry Kane, and Guardiola is likely to continue using false nines.
On Saturday, they face a Chelsea team with new £97.5 million frontman Lukaku, with the difference in the clubs’ goals being possibly the ultimate difference in the title race.
Pep Guardiola (L) prepares for his famous counterpart Thomas Tuchel at Stamford Bridge
The City boss has discussed the challenges of coping without a striker like Romelu Lukaku (C)
“There are two options at the moment: complain or say we have exceptional players,” Guardiola said. “These players have taken this club to another level and I am still fascinated by the way they train, their commitment. That’s enough for me.
“We don’t have this weapon that other teams have, like Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham or other teams. We don’t have a player who can score 25 league goals for himself, so we have to do it as a team. I can’t deny what a player Romelu Lukaku is.’
City still won the Premier League last season without being able to call on Aguero for big spells, but despite the need to recruit his successor, he went into this title defense without a recognized number 9 after Gabriel Jesus preferred to run wide. to operate. City are expected to be in the mix for Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland next summer.
“You won’t hear me moan for a moment this season that we don’t have this player because the players that have been given to me by the club, what have they given us in recent years,” added Guardiola. .
“We survived in a good way without Sergio, the way we played. I think the club knows – and not for me – that it needs a striker in the coming years. Sometimes it is possible, sometimes not because they are the more expensive ones.’
City have a huge week ahead of them, with trips to Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool after Saturday’s game at Stamford Bridge.
City works without an attacker after the departure of Sergio Aguero (L)
Aymeric Laporte and John Stones have returned to training but Guardiola has half a dozen of his team short of match fitness.
“We are the champions because we rarely complain about a lot of stupid things,” he said. During the season, and especially in this unforgiving schedule, we will have situations that are uncomfortable to deal with, but we have enough in the squad to deal with.” Ends
Tuchel could become the first manager on Saturday to beat Guardiola on the bounce four times.
The German insisted this match wasn’t about their personal struggle – ‘we’re not playing tennis or chess’ – but admitted that rivalry in coaching matters. Would four consecutive defeats from one coach bother him?
The rivals met when Tuchel led Borussia Dortmund and Guardiola ruled Bayern Munich
“Yes, of course,” he said. “That bothered me – he hit me, I think, four times in a row, so I had to deal with it too and come back from it.
“Nobody likes it, everyone at this kind of level, in this building – any player – we absolutely hate to lose and if we have to accept it, it’s always a challenge to swallow it, digest it and then absolutely what we hate more is losing a second time to the same team or the same coach.’
Tuchel has come a long way since he took advice from Guardiola in the early days of his coaching career. Yesterday it was suggested that the City boss would regret being so helpful.
“Ha, nothing he taught me at these dinners now helps me build a confident team to compete with him!” said Tuchel.
“When you’re a coach at Mainz, you can’t get the idea of ’let’s play like Barcelona’. So it was more about understanding how he implements, how much influence (he had), what he did.”
Guardiola admits it took him some time to recover from a series of defeats against Tuchel . to process
Tuchel insisted, ‘I’m not a fanboy!’, adding: ‘It was an honor to speak with him and have the opportunity to hear his beliefs.
“Is it like going home and being a different coach with my team the next day? New. But it questions my beliefs and it’s understandable to hear how deeply he believes in his beliefs… it was so far out of reach to even compete with him on the same level.
“So that’s why I’m absolutely grateful now and, believe it or not, I’m happy to have arrived at a club and a team with the confidence that, okay, if we play at our very best level, we’re a team that can compete.” with Pep’s team – and that’s actually a good feeling, because it means you’re in a good place as a coach.’