Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has insisted he will not change his tactics to accommodate new signings Erling Haaland, Julian Alvarez and Kalvin Phillips.
City romped to the Premier League title last summer without a recognised striker but now have two on the books in the form of Haaland and Alvarez, meaning Guardiola's use of a false-nine forward may well be over.
While there may be a few minor tweaks, Guardiola was adamant City will look no different to previous years and the new faces, including backup goalkeeper Stefan Ortega, will have to adjust to their style of football.
“We are not going to change the way we play,” he told mancity.com. “We’re going to adapt the quality that the players have to be involved in the way we play, but we are not going to change the way we play.
“Why should we change the way we play when we did really quite well in these last seasons?
“But we want Erling, Julian and Kalvin, and of course, Stefan, we want the best of them, the best version of them, adapting what you want to play.
“I’m pretty sure it’s happened. It’s [been] just a few days together, but the feeling is really good for all of them.”
Some of City's previous success was down to the contributions of Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko, all of whom have moved on to pastures new. The former has joined Chelsea and the latter duo have signed for Arsenal, despite Guardiola's revelation that he wanted to keep all three.
“All we have done these seasons, without them it would have not been possible,” Guardiola said of the trio.
“Raheem has been the pace and we are a team that make all the passes and he makes this explosion. There’s something incredible, unpredictable [about] his runs in the right, left.
“I saw how he grew up in his ambition to score goals, to make an assist, and [became] more hungry, and more, in the good terms, selfish to say, I want more goals. He’s a guy who can play every three days, he would never get injured. He was top.
“Oleks arrived as a boy, coming from Ukraine, and he went on loan to Holland and came back and we wanted to loan him again, we wanted to sell him again.
“He said, ‘no, I want to stay.’ He was in the gym when everyone was sleeping and making extra training sessions when the training session was over, and he said, ‘my time will come’ and his time came, and he was there, he was ready, and he played incredibly well. He’s a top-class player and we will miss him a lot.
Listen now to 90min's Talking Transfers podcast, with Scott Saunders, Graeme Bailey, Harry Symeou & Toby Cudworth. On the latest show they discuss Cristiano Ronaldo holding talks with Man Utd over his future, Barcelona attempting to sign Jules Kounde ahead of Chelsea, Man City rewarding Phil Foden with a new contract and more. Available on all audio platforms and the 90min YouTube channel.
If you can't see the podcast embed, click here to download the episode in full!
“Gabriel, maybe is the nicest person I ever worked with. It was a huge task to be alongside and to compete with the legend of this club, Sergio Aguero.
“Sergio Aguero had scored a lot of goals with us. So Gabriel, a young, young player from Brazil, comes to compete with him, and he was all the time ready to accept everything.
“He’s the best striker/defender I ever found to play in the three positions. [He] can play five minutes, he plays the best five minutes of his life. He plays 90 minutes, he will give everything.
“I had the feeling that in most cases we will miss him, but it’s football, it’s life, and the successes, all of them, will be our happiness.
“Hopefully they can enjoy in Chelsea, Raheem, and Arsenal, Oleks and Gabriel. What we have done in these seasons, everyone was involved and all three were important.
“It was a privilege for me to be their manager, and I’m very fortunate to have these players in the last six seasons to help.”
Source : 90min