MANCHESTER: Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says he would rather quit than change his footballing philosophy.
City have gone four matches in all competitions without a win and head into Sunday’s Premier League clash home to Southampton on the back of a 4-0 thrashing at Barcelona in the Champions League.
It was suggested to Guardiola this week that he might consider a more pragmatic approach to games in the future given City’s recent run.
But the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss insisted he would remain true to his attacking principles and style of play that requires his goalkeeper and defenders to play the ball out from the back.
“No, no, I’m not going to change,” Guardiola said. “First, it’s going to happen that if it’s not going well in the future, next season isn’t going well in that way, I will go home.
“I won 21 titles in seven years. So it’s three titles per year playing in that way.
“The way we want to play, the way the academy play for a long time, is the way I think is good because, I’m sorry, in the past it was going well until two weeks or three weeks ago.”
City will be without right-back Pablo Zabaleta, who sustained a knock against Barca, for the visit of Southampton, while fellow defender Bacary Sagna remains on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.
Guardiola also revealed that City captain Vincent Kompany has been mentally scarred by the injury problems he has suffered over the past two seasons.
The Belgium international, 30, was left out of City’s squad for the loss to Barca at the Nou Camp but is expected to be available to face Southampton.
“I thought a few weeks ago maybe Vincent can come back now with his personality, maybe he can do that,” Guardiola said.
“But one day after the training session here, he said, ‘I didn’t feel like this’. At this moment his head is not ready after what happened the last two years to keep him out.
“Vincent was not perfectly fit for Barcelona. We appreciate him a lot. Normally Kompany would be on the bench, but he was not fit.
“I would like when Vincent is fit, I have never been with him. I saw him when he is fit, he is a real central defender. I like him.”
– Long out injured –
Southampton travel to Manchester on the back of an unlucky 1-0 defeat at Inter Milan in the Europa League on Thursday, but with excellent Premier League form, including a four-game unbeaten run which has taken them up to eighth in the table.
Saints boss Claude Puel will be without Shane Long because of a hamstring injury, with Matt Targett, Ryan Bertrand and Cedric Soares all doubts.
One player who could benefit from Long’s absence is Jay Rodriguez, who is looking to re-establish himself after a difficult time with injuries.
The former Burnley striker has managed only 67 starts in four and a half years at Southampton largely because of injury, but he played against Inter.
“I felt great and I just want more and more of it,” he said. “I’m sure the goals will come, I just need to keep persisting to be on the field.
“It’s one of those things where it happens at times and I’m working extra hard to keep fit. I’m never happy after a game where I’ve not scored but I just need to concentrate on each game as it comes.”