Pep Guardiola has discussed this season’s title race and says Jack Grealish will need time to reach his best at Manchester City.
City begin the defence of their Premier League title at Tottenham on Sunday, as Guardiola’s side look to continue their dominance of the division and pursue a fourth title in just five seasons.
The champions will face strong competition with Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool set to return stronger however, and Guardiola insists that every new season presents ‘tougher, stronger and better teams’.
“Every season I arrive had the feeling it’s tougher, stronger. Better teams,” he said at his pre-match press conference.
“Every season is a new challenge, we celebrate our title, now it’s in our cabinet, in our memories, and we start again.”
City have bolstered their options with the £100m British transfer record signing of Jack Grealish from Aston Villa, with the midfielder making his debut as a substitute during the Community Shield defeat to Leicester last weekend.
When asked on his expectations of the 25-year-old, Guadiola urged patience with the summer signing as Grealish adapts to a new environment at the Etihad.
“Every player needs time to get to his best,” he said. “Yesterday was the first day when we were all together except Phil (Foden) because he is injured but he was in the locker room with us.
“In two days we start the Premier League. We need time. Every pre-season is like this. We decided some players can come back later because they need rest after a tough season. The way they behave so far is exceptional.”
Guardiola also discussed fellow England internationals Raheem Sterling, John Stones and Kyle Walker, with the trio having returned to training following their involvement in the Three Lions’ run to the final of Euro 2020.
“They came back really well,” he added. “The sun and rest produced a good effect. I would say really good.
“Everyone is ready, important is when they came back they were happy with the right energy. They need a little bit of time after four weeks off and two training sessions. It’s the Premier League now and we travel to London to get a good result.”