Pep Guardiola will resist a tactical shift at Manchester City this season, having backed his raft of big-money singings to fit last season’s often stuttering gameplan.
City finished 15 points off the pace of Premier League champions Chelsea as Guardiola presided over the first trophyless campaign of his career.
To remedy that, the Catalan has overseen a £200million turnaround of City’s squad, with Ederson, Kyle Walker, Danilo and Benjamin Mendy revolutionising City’s ageing back line.
With Bernardo Silva added to the powerhouse attacking line-up available to Guardiola, the boss believes he is in a better place to execute his tactical plans in 2017-18, starting with Saturday’s trip to newly promoted Brighton and Hove Albion.
“I think if you see the team last season and this season, the four [pre-season] games we played, the fundamentals are the same,” he said.
“If we do something good this season it’s because we were together last season, and we know better, and I know better, and they know me better, and that’s why it’s easy.
“I would like in three or four passes to score a goal, but sometimes it’s not possible and you have to move them [the opposition] a little bit more, and because our strikers are not Peter Crouch, our strikers are completely different, they are not strong in the air.”
He added: “But we prefer to be aggressive without the ball, it’s the same as last season. We try to attack more fluently, and more times maybe this season, but it’s a process to do that and sometimes you need a little bit more time.
“If you see in the first games [last season] against Sunderland and especially against Steaua Bucharest, between last season and now, it’s completely the same. It’s completely the same, because it’s the same manager. The difference is the quality of the players.”
Guardiola struck a satisfied tone when discussing his raft of fresh full-backs and their ability to have a transformative effect on City’s play this season.
“I have a lot of respect for the players I had,” he explained.
“I never complained for one bad game or bad defeat, making excuses, never, even in Germany I never said that, never in my life I make an excuse about what happened.
“Of course now the full-backs are younger, they have energy in their legs and we are going to use them. Kyle is so energetic, Mendy is such an energetic player, and Danilo too.”
Having favoured a 3-4-3 system for much of pre-season, Guardiola confirmed he will alternate between three-man and four-man defences.
He added: “We played four games, one with four at the back and the last three with three at the back. We played 3-4-3 with a diamond, it’s such a demanding system, so attacking, but so demanding defensively, and we did it quite well, yet for me it doesn’t matter as it’s pre-season.
“We are going to play both systems. I’m not going to say we are going to play all the season in that system, we are going to play different systems, but the fundamentals will be the same. I’m not going to change the way I want to play.”