Belfast Telegraph

Pep Guardiola: Man City have made progress despite failings

Pep Guardiola feels Manchester City have made progress this season even though they will fall below expectations.

City's hopes of winning the Premier League in Guardiola's first season were already slim before their midweek loss at Chelsea left them 14 points behind the leaders.

Given Guardiola's past successes with Barcelona and Bayern Munich, there was a belief at the start of the campaign that City would regain the crown.

City also under-achieved in the Champions League, failing to get beyond the last 16, but Guardiola has been pleased with some aspects of the season.

The Spaniard said: "My feeling is during the season we made really good things.

"I was expecting from the beginning of the season to fight for the Premier League until the end. Okay we are a little bit disappointed, but I quite happy with the way we made good things in this season.

"Of course we are not stable in other things. We want to improve for this part of the season and especially for next season."

City remain in a battle for Champions League qualification places with Tottenham, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United and Everton. They could also end the season with silverware if they win the FA Cup.

Guardiola said: "Now the situation is clear. Eight games left in the league to qualify for the first four and the semi-final of the FA Cup and that is our target for the end of the season. We'll try to win as many as possible."

City host relegation battlers Hull this weekend in a clash Guardiola accepts is not straightforward.

Marco Silva has sparked a revival since taking charge at the KCOM Stadium in January and the Tigers moved out of the bottom three for the first time since October by beating Middlesbrough on Wednesday.

Guardiola said: "I know him (Silva) from the Champions League when he was a manager in Greece and I was at Bayern Munich. He's making an outstanding job - not only great results, I like the way they play.

"I liked the way they played when we were there, now they play with a lot of talent - not just long balls, a lot of quality."

City captain Vincent Kompany made his long-awaited return to the side at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

It was just a seventh appearance of another season plagued by injuries and Guardiola felt his comeback, along with that of another long-term absentee Fabian Delph, went well.

He said: "Both played good. Delph was excellent and has maybe been deserving of more minutes than he has had.

"Vincent was injured but he was ready for the last two or three weeks. I am happy, the performance was outstanding. They were out for a long time, especially Vincent."

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