Pep Guardiola has highlighted Chelsea’s short-term approach by stating he enjoyed Manchester City’s backing in a way Antonio Conte never did and suggested Maurizio Sarri may encounter the same lack of support.
Guardiola struggled during his first season but never felt any sense he would be removed. He cited this when saying his experience was different to that of Sarri, who is under severe pressure during his opening campaign at Stamford Bridge.
Guardiola said: “The situation [Sarri’s] is a little bit different [to mine]. In my first year, never did the club doubt me. It was never in the media that I’d be sacked if they lose this game or the other game. It never happened.
“I was surprised that when Conte won the title [two years ago] and they lost one or two games at the beginning of the following season, people start to say he was going to be sacked.
“I said: ‘Wow, but two or three months ago they won the Premier League.’ The situation is completely different.”
Sarri will claim a trophy if he leads Chelsea to victory in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final against City. Guardiola’s side beat Chelsea 6-0 in this month’s Premier League meeting.
“In that moment I was so happy to beat them but now I would prefer not to have beaten them 6-0,” Guardiola said. “I don’t like to play a team again in a short period of time when you’ve beaten them by so much. They are incredible professional players, they are proud, they will do an extra [effort].
“When we lost 2-0 in Stamford Bridge [in December] you cannot accept a defeat at home [in the return]. But it’s what it is. We are going to play the final, try to improve, play the type of game you play in a final and try to win.
“When we reviewed the game [at the Etihad] – maybe people don’t believe me but they did incredible things. The first goal was a mistake, they were not paying attention. The [third] one Ross Barkley made a mistake. The second one, Sergio [Agüero] scores an incredible goal. When that happens it’s tough for the managers and the teams. But they did many, many good things. That was my feeling. I’ve spoken to my staff and they had the same opinion.”
City did not train on Friday so Guardiola will know on Saturday whether John Stones and Gabriel Jesus are available after minor injuries. “The info I have is they are getting better but right now I cannot say if they will be ready,” he said.