Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola believes the club need to flex their muscles in the transfer window to catch Liverpool next season in the Premier League.
Pep Guardiola has conceded the need for a “rebuild” of his Manchester City squad if he is to close the gap on Liverpool next season. City will give the newly-crowned Premier League champions a guard of honour before tonights clash at the Etihad.
But their manager admitted his squad could have to look different in the next campaign if they are to make inroads or even reclaim their crown.
“Wed like to stay with the players who gave us what they did for the last decade of the last 10 years but we grow in years,” he said.
“Sometimes we have to do it and replace them with new players. It happens at all clubs around the world, you never can be eternal, and we have to accept it and try to take the right decisions as a club to try to maintain the level that we have.”
The exit of club legend Vincent Kompany left a huge hole in the side when he retired last summer, one which was never adequately filled.
And with Leroy Sane leaving for Bayern Munich, David Silva reaching the end of a decade at the club and Fernandinho and Sergio Aguero in their thirties and entering the final year of contracts, the need for renewal is clear.
“Some players have to be replaced. But its not a disaster thing, or bad thing, its part of football,” said the City boss.
“After we finish (the season) we will reflect. I want to take a little time to think with the club what we have to do, which players should we replace.
“We didnt get the results we wanted but all we can do is accept it, learn from our mistakes and try and get the consistency weve had in the past and try to reply next season.”
Pep Guardiola makes made no bones about the fact that the FA Cup semi-final and their last 16 second leg against Real Madrid are front and centre in his thinking.
But with his side still in need another eight points to be sure of Champions League qualification, he is keen to put the Premier League campaign on the back burner as soon as possible.
And an early statement of intent for next season against Liverpool tonight would be perfect.
“Living for the past is ridiculous. You have to show again and again. You cant be part of the big clubs without demanding that you do your best,” said Guardiola.
In sport you have to prove it every time.
“Were going to make Liverpool feel it next season and fight for the next chapters. But the the challenge for now is to do a good game against a fantastic team, to compete like we did in the past.”