Pep Guardiola says that Manchester City will not necessarily have had a bad season if they don’t win the Premier League.
City now trail leaders Chelsea by 10 points after losing 1-0 to second-placed Liverpool on New Year’s Day.
But Guardiola says that they must forget about chasing down Antonio Conte’s side and concentrate on improving performances and trying to pick up as many points as they can — starting with Burnley on Monday.
“Now what we have to do is believe in the next game,” Guardiola told a news conference. “It’s not worth putting a lot of stress: ‘If we don’t win the Premier League that is going to be not a good season.’
“We are going to analyse what happened at the end of the season with the people — if it was good, not bad. Now we are just going to focus on the next game with Burnley.”
Guardiola has won titles in six of his previous seven seasons as a manager with previous clubs Barcelona and Bayern Munich but says he is ready for the challenge of trying to lead City to the top.
“I was normally always at the top,” he added. “At Barcelona and Munich I won a lot of times but this is a new chapter in my career as a manager to handle that, and I am willing to try it with these guys.”
City face the Clarets fewer than 48 hours after the defeat at Anfield and Guardiola may be tempted to freshen up his starting lineup with such a quick turnaround.
But forwards Leroy Sane and Nolito both missed the trip to Liverpool while captain Vincent Kompany, who is still fighting his way back to full fitness, watched the game with the away fans.
New striker Gabriel Jesus is not available yet, but he is set to arrive at the Etihad this week after completing his loan spell with Brazilian champions Palmeiras.
The 19-year-old, who signed a five-year deal with City in the summer, should be able to play later this month, with Guardiola saying he won’t need much training to get back to full fitness after making his last appearance on Nov. 27.
Guardiola has high hopes for the Brazil international and hopes to be able to call on him sooner rather than later.
“He is fit, he is young,” Guardiola added. “It was just two or three weeks without training so he’s not going to spend too much time to be fit.”