MANCHESTER: Pep Guardiola admits he will have to “buy goals” before next season in a bid to cure Manchester City’s lack of killer instinct.
Guardiola’s side enter the final stages of the Premier League season with a top four finish still in doubt due, according to the manager, to their failure in the opposition penalty area.
While City are top of the ‘chances created’ statistic in the division, they rank only seventh in goals scored and Guardiola claims there is only one solution to that problem.
“We can accept the opponent scoring one goal, but we didn’t score enough goals,” Guardiola said on Friday.
“We created enough chances. In the statistics, we are the team in the Premier League with the most clear-cut chances, but are seventh in the teams scoring the most goals.
“It’s complicated. When one guy is fast, he’s fast, when one guy’s strong, he’s strong, when one guy’s good at heading, he’s good at heading, when one guy is good at scoring goals, he’s good at scoring goals.
“So when you buy a guy, who’s fast, you buy a player who’s fast, so goals, you have to buy. That’s what it is.”
Sergio Aguero has 31 goals this season and Guardiola believes City’s campaign would have been different if young Brazilian Gabriel Jesus, who has scored four goals in four league starts, hadn’t missed over two months with a broken toe.
But Aguero’s conversion rate has still been questioned and the City manager is an unashamed admirer of Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez, who has 24 goals this season and previously played for Guardiola at Barcelona.
Sanchez may cost City around £50 million ($64 million, 58 million euros) if they manager to lure him away from their Premier League rivals.
But, in today’s inflated market place, the form of Jesus, who cost City £27 million from Palmeiras last year, already appears a bargain.
“I don’t know how we got him so cheap, but now I think he would be expensive,” Guardiola said.
“Today the prices are crazy all around the world, so he would be expensive, I’m pretty sure about that.
“Before we got him, we expected a lot of things, but not that impact as soon as possible. He will be the future striker in this club for the next years.
“The good ones make a good impact but not many. Messi, for example, we took at 18, 19 years old scored and he scored 40 league goals in a year. The top players are top players.
“Sometimes we talk about needing more time, but when you are good, you maybe don’t need time.”
Guardiola is still hoping to finish in third place, and avoid having to play in the early qualifying round for the Champions League, which they would have to do should they finish fourth.
The late return to fitness of club skipper and defender Vincent Kompany has certainly provided Guardiola with a boost, although the Belgian international admits City have only themselves to blame for not stepping up on the big occasion.
“We’ve dominated games, been organised, tried to play in a certain way that I always think is the beginning of something better, something special,” he said.
“But obviously we’ve lacked in key moments and everyone has to take responsibility for that.”