Manchester City have been able to string together a 19-match winning streak because of all of the money they spend on “incredible players”, joked Pep Guardiola.
City’s 2-0 first-leg triumph over Borussia Monchengladbach in Budapest put the Premier League leaders in a commanding position to advance to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Guardiola brought Sergio Aguero, Ferran Torres and Riyad Mahrez off the bench at Puskas Stadium, while John Stones, Kevin De Bruyne and Benjamin Mendy were among the unused substitutes.
Bernardo Silva and Gabriel Jesus were on the scoresheet, extending a winning stretch that dates back to December 16 as City continue to fight on four fronts.
When quizzed about the reasons behind his side’s relentless run of success, Guardiola seemed to take a sarcastic swipe at his critics by claiming it was all about the money.
“We have a lot of money to buy a lot of incredible players,” he joked.
“All the time we win for the money, this is true. And without the good-quality players, we cannot do it.
“And the humanity of this group, the players are fantastic and have an incredible relationship and play every game to win.”
24 – Manchester City have kept 24 clean sheets in all competitions this season – one more than they kept in the entirety of last season. Wall.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 24, 2021
When pushed on the real reason behind City’s flawless three-month stretch, Guardiola pointed out his team’s togetherness and willingness to defend from the front.
“Because all the team are involved,” he added.
“If we concede one shot on target it is because we make an incredible [defensive] effort up front; [Raheem Sterling], Phil [Foden], Gabriel [Jesus], Bernardo and [Ilkay] Gundogan, and everyone.
“That is why the opponents come in the difficult positions and with problems a few times, and that’s why we defend well.
“And in the same process when they create one against one it is because of our build-up we take risk. And Kyle [Walker] and Gundogan and Ederson and everyone make the process good.
“Football is not attack and defend, it is everyone together.”