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Guardiola happy with Manchester City half-term report despite dip in standards

Pep Guardiola said Manchester City have largely met his targets for the first half of the season despite failing to hit their usual heights.

A 2-0 win over Sheffield United on Saturday closed the English champions to within two points of the top of the Premier League.

City have also lifted the UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup for the first time in the club’s history, but lost out on the Community Shield to Arsenal on penalties.

“I felt at the beginning of the season, qualify for Champions League (knockout stage), win the three trophies – we won just two – and in the Premier League, just be there,” said Guardiola.

But prior to heading off to Saudi Arabia for the Club World Cup earlier this month, Guardiola’s men had won just one of their previous six Premier League games.

“I had the feeling we could have more points for the way we performed,” added Guardiola.

“The position we are in is more than fine. We are going to lose games, they are going to lose games. We’re trying to lose as few as possible.”

City won five trophies in all in 2023 as they claimed a treble of Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup last season.

Prior to kick-off at the Etihad, all five pieces of silverware were on display and Guardiola was able to reflect on a year to remember.

“We saw the five trophies today. It was really nice. We are so satisfied, so proud,” said the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss.

“Now they are there in the trophy cabinet. Huddersfield (in the FA Cup) next.”

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder said the 90 minutes felt like an eternity for his players as they chased shadows for almost the entire game.

“It felt like we played football for about five hours,” said Wilder, whose side remain rooted to the bottom of the table.

“At the start, when you are walking out, and you see five trophies, it hits home to you and what you are up against.”

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