Pep Guardiola insists Manchester City ‘will not change’ their style of play to suit Erling Haaland and has praised Raheem Sterling, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus following their exits.
City have undergone major changes this summer with a number of long-serving players having departed. Jesus and Zinchenko having reunited with former City coach Mikel Arteta at Arsenal, while Sterling has signed for Chelsea in search of a more prominent role.
Guardiola has lavished praise on the departed trio for their contribution to the club in recent seasons and says each leave with City’s best wishes.
“There are decisions for the club and decisions for the players. I said from day one since arriving here you have to be where you want to be,” Guardiola told the club’s official website.
“All I can say on Raheem, Gabriel, and Oleksandr is that all we have done this season, without them would not have been possible.
“Raheem made this explosion of something incredible and unpredictable. I saw his ambition to score more goals and assists grow. I would say the impact for the way he played and never got injured was top.
“Oleksandr arriving as a boy, he went on loan to Holland, we wanted to sell him and he said no I want to stay here.
“He was in the gym when everyone was sleeping, making extra training sessions and he said his time would come.
“His time came and he was ready. He is a top-class player and we will miss him. As a guy he can handle the pressure incredibly well and he has incredible self-confidence.
“Gabriel is the nicest player I ever worked with and it was a huge task to compete with Sergio Aguero.
“The young player from Brazil came to compete with him and he is the best striker defender I have ever worked with across three positions. He plays five minutes and plays the best five minutes of his life.
“He can press three or four players in 10 seconds for 90 minutes and I have the feeling in most cases we will miss them. It’s life and their successes will be our happiness.”
Guardiola also discussed City’s new arrivals, headlined by the capture of Haaland from Borussia Dortmund.
Given the Premier League champions have operated without an orthodox centre-forward for much of the past two seasons, plenty has been made about whether City’s style will change.
The Spaniard insists that will not be the case and says the club’s focus will be on adapting their new signings to their brand of football.
“We will not change the way we play,” Guardiola said.
“We will adapt these players. We want Erling Haaland, Kalvin Phillips and Julian Alvarez to give us the best version of them.
“The feeling is really good.”