Pep Guardiola admits Manchester City are ‘struggling’ up front but insists his side were ‘adventurous’ during a goalless Manchester derby at Old Trafford this weekend.
Guardiola’s side currently sit ninth in the Premier League following an indifferent start to the campaign and the shortcomings of a transitional team were evident during a dull derby with Manchester United on Saturday evening, City struggling to carve out opportunities and registering just two shots on target during an uninspiring stalemate.
The clash continued a trend that has seen City address their defensive issues only to look short of the firepower which has defined them during Guardiola’s reign, with the club having finished as the Premier League’s leading scorers in each of the past three campaigns.
City scored over a century of league goals last season but have mustered just 17 from 11 games so far, and Guardiola admits their lack of attacking impetus is a concern as they bid to close the gap to the top of the division.
When quizzed at a press conference on how to solve the problems in attack, Guardiola replied: “Put the ball in the goal. This is the solution.
“We didn’t concede again like we didn’t against Porto and against Marseille. This is a good point for us to start from here. Okay, up front we are struggling.”
Guardiola’s tactics and ambition were questioned after he opted to deploy two defensive midfielders in Rodri and Fernandinho against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, though suggested previous encounters – losing three of the past four derby meetings – were behind his pragmatic approach to the clash.
“The two holding midfielders? Be more adventurous?” said Guardiola. “We were more adventurous than them and created more chances.
“Maybe [we could have been more attack-minded]. But I’m the manager and I see the team, I see the opponent and what happened in the past games.
“There are many reasons why I decided. They can play different systems and, when you create the chances we had for Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus, considering the moment we’re in, it’s good.”