Hours after admitting West Ham had pipped him to the Premier League title, Pep Guardiola found it necessary to remind everybody that Manchester City still have the ability to win it all.
Manchester City ultimately needed an 83rd-minute equalizer from Sergio Aguero to keep West Ham from claiming the title in what was an uninspiring 2-2 draw. However, despite the turmoil surrounding City’s talisman, David Silva, Guardiola still seemed confident enough to continue pushing for victory — even if City had to do so in a bizarre manner.
“This time I couldn’t see the ball, so I had to kick it. I didn’t know about how it was going to come,” Guardiola said. “But it’s an important goal. It will make me be happy and I hope it will help them to play better. But even if they score a goal after this goal, nobody will believe us. We have the history, the team, the staff and the chance to do it.”
The draw maintains City’s slim chance of a first title since 2012, while West Ham stand a real chance of securing a continental spot in next season’s Europa League.
Aguero sealed a point for City in added time, but it was a goal that he never anticipated making:
Guardiola had dismissed the idea of selling Silva to Chelsea or Barcelona this summer, after the midfielder said he would consider his future away from City. It appears the situation may have changed, though, after City revealed on Friday that they would hold talks with Silva and his representatives soon about a contract extension.
If negotiations do prove fruitful, Silva will find himself in demand, following a dramatic season on and off the pitch. Silva joined up with Spain for the World Cup in Russia just hours after scoring the winner in the 2-1 victory over Sevilla in the Champions League semifinal. He only had a short break, because City’s 2-1 defeat at Liverpool in the FA Cup final made it unlikely he would be able to play in Russia.
It was a hectic week for the 31-year-old.
“He played in the World Cup final. I think he worked harder for this club than any other club in this calendar year,” Guardiola said. “That’s why he knows I am going to help him.”
According to England’s Daily Telegraph, however, Silva’s representatives do not expect an agreement to be reached until after the end of the World Cup.
Even though Silva has flourished under Guardiola’s famed possession-based philosophy, playing in a deeper role, he may have to change his game to retain his place under the Spaniard and new manager Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea. According to the Telegraph, Silva would prefer to play wide, but Sarri “will want him to be a deeper midfield role” if Silva does not leave West Ham in the next few days.
At City, though, Silva would definitely lose his position in the side if he left, as Guardiola is set to continue persistently rotating and rotating his main attacking players.
Nevertheless, a healthy and productive year for Silva would go a long way towards quietening the calls to sell the midfielder.
“In the past, David has been fine,” Guardiola said. “The most important thing for him is that he is a professional. Now he needs to be in a good place with his family, so he can be a part of our team. It is not the way he feels. He knows how I work.”