Pep Guardiola disagrees with Mikel Arteta for the first time ahead of Man City vs Arsenal after 'perfection' comments
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Pep Guardiola has hit back at Mikel Arteta after he claimed Arsenal must be ‘perfect’ to fend off Manchester City in the title charge tomorrow in the first public disagreement between the managers since Arteta's move to the Gunners.
Arsenal are five points clear at the top of the Premier League table but head to the Etihad tomorrow to face a Manchester City side unbeaten in 16 games across all competitions. The title charge is well and truly on for City, who have eight Premier League games left to play as opposed to Arsenal’s six.
Ahead of the clash, Arteta told the press that his squad need to focus and that he expects “absolute perfection in every single ball” when his side face the reigning champions.
“Belief and psychology plays a huge part," he said.
"Obviously, the belief is there. When I look at how [the team] trained, how they react, the mood in the dressing room, how they’ve been defending each other in every moment.
"We really want it and we’re going to show that again tomorrow night…Then you have to deliver in the right moment, the right performance and it has to be perfection because that’s what this last level demands — absolute perfection in every single ball."
However, Guardiola disputed Arteta’s claim that ‘perfection doesn’t exist in football’.
“You cannot be perfect and win the game,” Guardiola said in disagreement before the title showdown. “We know what happened against Bayern Munich and in the future against top teams. Your standards have to be so high.
“The way they play against so many teams, we have to be really good to impose our game,” he said. “In these type of games, we decide to make so intense in many things and be so aggressive, always the spaces are there.
“The quality of the players to have the ball under pressure, it will not be a game where one team will have 65-70 per cent possession. It’s not going to happen.”
Despite dismissing his earlier comments, the pair have a well-documented close working relationship after their time together at City and Guardiola reaffirmed his admiration for his former protege ahead of the Premier League showdown.
“The development of [Arsenal] since Mikel took over, it’s obvious," he added.
“When you talk about a manager… I’m a trainer, not a manager. I had a feeling that Mikel would change the structure of the club. [He has made] a lot of decisions, changed a lot of players. That’s why the success if there. Arsenal, in the last few years, were far away. They have been near the top all season so I’ve been really impressed."