Pep Guardiola insists there is no secret to Manchester City’s winning run

Ian Parker, PA

Pep Guardiola has insisted there is no secret to Manchester City’s winning run as they look for a record-breaking 15th in a row at Swansea in the FA Cup on Wednesday.

City’s stunning 4-1 victory over Liverpool on Sunday saw them match the all-time record for English top-flight clubs, jointly held by the Preston side of 1891-92 and Arsenal in 1987, and they will now look to go one better at the Liberty Stadium.

City’s form has banished memories of a slow start to the season and made them outright favourites to win the Premier League title, but Guardiola said he could not offer an explanation for the change in fortunes.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I think about the next game and try to prepare well and there are no more secrets than that.

“I have to tell you the same as before. What is in the past is just that. We are so calm when we lose one and it’s the same now. The reason is thinking about the next game, and now it’s Swansea.”

Phil Foden was the star of the show at Anfield, laying on two goals for Ilkay Gundogan before scoring an outstanding fourth himself, and the 20-year-old has now been directly involved in nine goals in his last 10 starts.

Guardiola was long questioned for his reluctance to start Foden in the past two seasons, but has now been earning praise for his careful nurturing of the midfielder – not that it was something the manager had any interest in discussing.

“It’s part of our jobs,” he said. “Sometimes he doesn’t play, sometimes he does. The only thing that is clear, all the good decisions we take are only good because we won. Even ourselves, we don’t know what happens.

“All the good comments after Liverpool are because we won. If we lose it would be a disaster. We were happy with the result and three points, no more than that.”

Foden started at Anfield as a false-nine, a common formation for City this season in the continued absence of Sergio Aguero.

What could be the record goalscorer’s final season with the club has been wrecked by injury and illness so far, with Aguero limited to just nine appearances in all competitions, only three of them starts.

He was last seen in a late cameo at Chelsea on January 3, since when the 32-year-old has tested positive for coronavirus and spent time in self-isolation.

Aguero returned to training on Monday but Guardiola is not yet sure when he might return to action.

“Yesterday he trained for 10-15 minutes with the group and after that he did some parts alone,” Guardiola said. “Day by day he’s feeling better.”

Aguero will be one of three confirmed absentees for the trip to Wales, with Kevin De Bruyne and Nathan Ake continuing their recovery from injuries.

City may have been rolling over all-comers since the middle of December, but Guardiola warned his players to expect a tough challenge from the Championship promotion hopefuls.

Swansea City v Manchester City – FA Cup – Quarter Final – Liberty Stadium
Aguero appeared to be offside when he scored City’s late winner at Swansea two years ago (Nick Potts/PA)

Two years ago City needed a controversial late Aguero goal as they came from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at the Liberty Stadium and earn an FA Cup semi-final place.

“It was a difficult game,” Guardiola said. “I don’t expect a different game when we suffered a lot to go through.

“I know Swansea’s consistency defensively. They are solid, don’t concede chances or goals. They have the quality to play up front.

“It will be a real difficult test and we will have to do a good performance.”

From Our Partners