Guardiola prefers performance over points

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Last year, Pep Guardiola’s City became the first side to reach 100 points in a Premier League campaign. AFP

LONDON (Reuters) – Manchester City will aim to improve their performance rather than beat last season’s record-breaking Premier League tally of 100 points, manager Pep Guardiola has said. Defending champions City became the first side to reach 100 points in a Premier League campaign and finished last season 19 points above their closest rivals Manchester United.

“People ask ‘can you improve on 100 points’ and I say no because we are not here to do that. However, individually the players can improve,” Guardiola said during the Sky Sports Premier League launch.

“Of course we can improve. If I felt we could not improve the team I would call my chairman and say: ‘I leave’. But still, we believe we can do better and dominate more. Will it happen? I don’t know but we believe we can do it.”

City begin the new season with a trip to Arsenal on Sunday and Spaniard Guardiola suggested the London side could pose a serious challenge this season under new manager Unai Emery.

“Arsenal I think are going to be more consistent as a team,” Guardiola added. “It will be tough like it has to be. It’s nice because every season the Premier League is tougher and tougher.

“Unai is a work ethic guy. He knows everything about the opponents. He achieved something unique in European football in three Europa Leagues in a row and he handled himself well at PSG. He’s a top, top manager and it will be tough.”

Earlier this week, Manchester City defender Kyle Walker has said he would have been “stupid” not to cut his post-World Cup break short and return to the club’s pre-season training camp.

Walker and fellow City defender John Stones were part of the England squad that finished fourth at the World Cup and returned to full training last week. Both players started City’s 2-0 win over Chelsea in the Community Shield on Sunday.

“To not be a part of this would have been stupid, for me to not want to come back,” Walker told reporters.

“Come Christmas I might be saying to you that I’m absolutely knackered, but that is just football.

“The gaffer gave me the option, he said you can either come back on August 6 after this, or you can come back and to play,” Walker added.

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