Pep Guardiola has reiterated his belief that Manchester City need to sign a forward despite his side sitting at the top of the Premier League without one.
ity meets Cristiano Ronaldo on Sunday, the veteran striker who nearly joined Guardiola’s side in the summer before instead making an impressive return to rivals United.
This comes after City fell short in attempts to land Harry Kane from Tottenham and attention has now turned to joining the race to sign Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund this summer.
“I think the club definitely needs a striker,” said Guardiola. “You say we play fantastic without a striker because we win. If we don’t win you say we need a striker (that) I’m naive.
“‘How do these guys play without a striker? In the Premier League you have to play with a striker.
“So we need a striker, I think the club will try.”
City go into Sunday’s derby as favorites but the current forward line is lacking goals against United.
Remarkably, Raheem Sterling has never scored against City’s rivals, as has Phil Foden, while Riyad Mahrez, City’s top scorer this season, has only scored once against them in his career, in the League Cup.
Record signing Jack Grealish, who has never played on the winning side against United in his career, admitted after his midweek strike against Peterborough that he had yet to score the goals and assists he expected in the city’s colors but Guardiola said his overall contribution was more important.
“I think he’s not frustrated, but when he’s frustrated, he’s a stupid man,” he said. “There is no need to be frustrated after a goal. You have to play well, do your best, that’s all. If you score, fine, if not, next game…
“The important thing is to play well, to help the team win and to be part of something we’re all in together.”
City’s main concern on Sunday could be at the other end of the field, with Ruben Dias out for four to six weeks with a hamstring problem and Nathan Ake also sidelined, leaving John Stones and Aymeric Laporte the only fit middle halves.
Stones has made just nine Premier League appearances this season and most recently played at right-back, so Dias’ absence is a great opportunity for the Englishman to re-establish himself in central defence.
“What I feel now is that he’s incredibly mature,” Guardiola said of the 27-year-old. “I think that some blows have given him, he understands his job, his life much, much, much better.
“The proof is that he wasn’t always good as a right-back, he was exceptional. Defensive, offensive, everything. So of course Ruben out now, hopefully he can be fit and be there.
“I have no doubts about John but he knows he can do better and every game is proof he can do better. Today we are training with him many aspects that he can do better and I think he is ready and accepting that he can do better.”
Jurgen Klopp on Friday signaled his intention to stay at Liverpool until at least 2024 but added that he could not commit to staying beyond that just yet.
The question then inevitably came to Guardiola, who has a contract with City until the summer of 2023, having already extended his original three-year deal twice.
“I have to see if the players follow me, we’re succeeding and I won’t say if I’m staying,” he said. “We have to see if we can do it together and everyone is involved. i need to feel it
“It would be easy for me to sign another three or four years, but we’ll see what happens. We are together and we have to see until the end of the season.”
https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/premier-league/pep-guardiola-admits-manchester-city-need-to-sign-a-striker-41415913.html Pep Guardiola admits Manchester City need to sign a striker