Pep Guardiola typically spends more than 80 per cent of his team meetings focusing on Manchester City rather than the opposition.
And even in tomorrow’s crunch match against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool — a team Guardiola described as ‘the best in Europe’ — staff at City believe the result will come down to what they do.
Guardiola responded to two festive defeats, against Leicester and Crystal Palace, by urging his players to remember how scintillating they can be.
They plan to narrow the seven-point gap to leaders Liverpool by getting back to basics.
Raheem Sterling said: ‘We knew we needed to beat Southampton to give ourselves a chance and if we play the way we know we can, we can beat anyone. After two difficult performances, I thought as a team we had to bring that level.’
Guardiola believes that when everybody is fit, City are a sharper outfit than last year.
‘At Barcelona in my fourth season, we played better than the previous season when we won six titles, but we won just the cup,’ he said by way of comparison.
Kevin De Bruyne missed the win at Southampton with a muscle injury and is a doubt for tomorrow.Daily Mail