By Mike McGrath
Pep Guardiola has told his Manchester City players to celebrate every small success as Chelsea’s dramatic decline shows how quickly teams can fall from the top.
The City manager felt his players took qualification from the Champions League group stage for granted after they defeated Young Boys in midweek, with Chelsea their next opponents in the Premier League this weekend.
And Guardiola sees Chelsea as an example of how quickly fortunes can change in football, with the club crowned champions of Europe in 2021 but now, under Mauricio Pochettino, are rebuilding after finishing in the bottom half last season.
“Absolutely,” said Guardiola when asked if Chelsea are a warning to other clubs at the top. “I’m not there at Chelsea, but we always remind ourselves. So the other day, we qualified and the players thought ‘so this is normal.’ I said to the players ‘celebrate, because one day, maybe we are not there if we stop doing what we have to do’.
“Maybe the opponents are better than us and we will not be there. That’s why I’m completely with you. We are doing well but you can go down and the down never ends! You can be more and more and more.
“So that’s why we keep perspective, be calm, relax, good moments and bad moments are everywhere for every team in the world. Not for the fact we are just named Manchester City and the last years have been good does it mean that it’s going to happen in the future.
“It doesn’t mean we’re going to be good 10 years from now. If you are aware of that, you are closer to still being consistent, still being there in Europe for many years.”
Guardiola will face Cole Palmer and Raheem Sterling, who City sold to Chelsea in the last two summers after moves were granted despite the clubs being direct rivals in recent seasons. Palmer was allowed to move as wanted more chances of regular first-team football.