(Reuters) – Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola has challenged his players to work collectively in a bid to rediscover their fluid style of play, saying they cannot expect Santa Claus to deliver goals as Christmas presents.
City have only scored 19 goals in 13 Premier League games this season, a marked contrast to their previous three campaigns during which they had recorded 37, 40 and 42 by the same stage.
“Our game has to come back because the goals don’t come as a present from Santa Claus. They come from our performances,” Guardiola told a news conference on Friday.
“There is no doubt about our mentality. We have to refresh our philosophy and there are things to readjust.
“The challenge right now is to score more goals and we will improve our level game by game.”
City, eighth in the league table, host Newcastle United on Saturday before travelling to play Everton at Goodison Park on Monday.
Guardiola stressed the importance of winning games during the festive period as his team trail leaders Liverpool by eight points, albeit with a game in hand.
City showed signs of returning to their best form when they secured a 4-1 win over Arsenal in the League Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday, with academy graduate Phil Foden recording a goal and an assist in the second half.
Guardiola hailed the 20-year-old as one of the most talented youngsters he has coached.
“He has incredible energy as a player. But in the final decision, for the final pass, you have to slow down a bit,” Guardiola said.
“But we will be incredibly patient with him. I know we can trust and rely on him all the time.”
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond