Guardiola: Premier League is tough, nothing has changed
Pep Guardiola feels Manchester City's 1-1 draw at Wolves offered a timely reminder of just how tricky it will be to retain their Premier League title.
Aymeric Laporte earned a point with his first City goal after Willy Boly struck first at Molineux, the opener standing despite replays showing the Wolves defender converted with his hand from an offside position.
Nevertheless, it was a superb performance from Nuno Espirito Santos' men, who posed City plenty of problems even as the champions were denied by the woodwork on three occasions.
As his team observed the title race from a distance during his first season at the helm in 2016-17, former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss Guardiola was often asked for his observations on how England's top flight provided specific and tough challenges.
Even though City cantered to glory with a 100-point haul last time around, he insists those realities remain the same.
"You [the media] have more experience than me here in the Premier League in England," he said.
"Since I arrived here [people say] every game is tough to win. That is the reality. Nothing has changed.
"We knew that before we came here [to Wolves]. We tried to play our best game. Unfortunately we could not win. Next time we will try."
We will improve because defensively today we were not solid like we normally are.— PepTeam (@PepTeam) August 25, 2018
Mejoraremos porque defensivamente hoy no fuimos tan sólidos como somos normalmente.#wolvesvcity #PremierLeague #mancity #MCFC pic.twitter.com/fA9svEkYJj
Wolves also held City to a 0-0 draw in the EFL Cup last season before losing on penalties, but Guardiola stopped short of professing admiration for Nuno's tactical approach – citing diplomatic reasons.
"If I say 'admire the way' I am saying maybe I don’t like the other [managers] and I'm criticising them," he said.
"Every manager can do [what they want] because they know their teams. I don't like when other managers judge my job or our job, what we want to do.
"The other managers decide because they know their team, they know the players, they saw our games and decided to play in that way. It looks perfect.
"Football is to discover the secrets of what the opponents is trying to do and try to beat them.
"But, of course, the spectators in the stadium and the audience on TV enjoyed [Wolves against City] because they had chances, we had chances. I think for the Premier League it's good."
City are back on home turf against Newcastle United next, having hammered Huddersfield Town 6-1 in their most recent outing at the Etihad Stadium.
Home comforts are likely to be welcomed by Guardiola, who suggested the Molineux playing surface did not suit his team's slick passing approach.
"I know when the grass is not so quick how difficult it is to attack 10 players behind in the ball because they were 10 in the box," he added.
"I am delighted how many chances we created, just to concede a few. We will improve."