Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez has explained Pep Guardiola's comments regarding not caring about winning the Premier League title. The Spanish coach appeared to concede the title to Arsenal following City's 2-1 loss to Manchester United in the derby last weekend.
Guardiola spoke after the disappointing defeat to the Red Devils, saying:
"I don't care about the Premier League and the Carabao Cup, we cannot win. We won a lot, so it's not a problem."
Manchester City bounced back from their derby disappointment with an impressive 4-2 comeback victory over Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday (January 20). Dejan Kulusevski and Emerson Royal gave the Spurs a shock 2-0 lead at halftime.
However, Julian Alvarez and Erling Haaland equalized just minutes into the second half. Mahrez then scored a phenomenal double to send the Etihad Stadium into hysteria. They now trail league leaders Arsenal by five points, having played one game more.
Mahrez explained Guardiola's comments about not caring about the league, saying that it was a motivational tool (via talkSPORT):
“He will say this to us."
“He wants us to be how we are, how we did mostly in the game today, more in the second half because when we are like this it’s difficult to beat us, and then what happens will happen."
“At the end, like he said, and like he says all the time to us, we have to be what we are and achieve as a team, and then let’s see where it takes us.”
Manchester City host Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday (January 22) as they look to catch the Gunners, who face Manchester United at the Emirates on the same day. Guardiola's side will hope that their neighbors can cause Mikel Arteta's men to slip up in the title race.
Guardiola frustrated with his Manchester City players despite turning things around against Tottenham
Guardiola was less than impressed with his players despite beating Spurs. The Spanish coach claimed that his players lacked passion and hunger. He also called out the club's fans (via the Daily Mail):
"Playing with this lack of passion, this season I can announce we are not going to win anything, [We lacked] guts, passion, fire, desire to win from minute one. The same with the fans, they are silent for 45 minutes. I want my fans back. The fans have to shout."
Manchester City were on course to lose their third consecutive game in all competitions when they headed in at half-time 2-0 down to Tottenham. The Etihad faithful were furious and booed the players as they departed the field.
However, they staged a brilliant comeback victory over Antonio Conte's side to keep pace with Arsenal in the title race. It was a vital win given the circumstances of their prior form and the Gunners' red-hot performances following the FIFA World Cup break.