Pep Guardiola needs help from Man City leadership group to boost Premier League title challenge

Pep Guardiola may bear the burden of remotivating his players after more heartbreak in the Champions League, but the Manchester City leaders must also take on additional responsibility ahead of the final four games of the season.

Upon his arrival at the Etihad Stadium in 2016, one of the first things the Catalan did was to set up a leadership group. Rather than having just one captain, the idea of ​​a core group of leaders makes it a lot easier to make big decisions within the squad.

Vincent Kompany and then David Silva took on the permanent team captain role before their respective departures, with Fernandinho taking charge since then. In addition to the Brazilian, a large number of key City players have formed this esteemed group.

ALSO READ:Everything Guardiola said about Man City’s Real Madrid and Newcastle defeat

Last season Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan, Kyle Walker and Raheem Sterling were that quartet. But after his incredible debut season, Ruben Dias was immediately elected as the leader.

It’s unknown if that was at the expense of an existing member or if his name was simply added to the list, but the next four games may be their toughest test yet. City suffered more Champions League grief on Wednesday night, with Rodrygo coming off the bench to score a quick brace to force the semi-finals in extra time – with a Karim Benzema penalty sending the 13-time winners to the showpiece .

After nearly 180 minutes of dominating the game, the defeat will be a tough one for City’s players and staff. But they have to pick themselves up with a Premier League title still on the line.

The Blues welcome Eddie Howe’s Newcastle United to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, knowing just four wins stand in the way of a fourth domestic title in five seasons. To make matters worse, Liverpool could step up the pressure on City with a win over Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday night.

Guardiola has a big job to re-motivate his players after such a grueling night in Madrid, but this is one point where the leader group must prove their worth. The players on that privileged list should cheer on their teammates during training and remind them that the biggest prize in England is still on offer – and no mistakes are allowed.

Any missed points at this stage of the season – especially given Liverpool’s form – would be fatal, so the players must focus their thoughts solely on Newcastle, Wolves, West Ham and Aston Villa.

This City team has performed at such a high level this season that they deserve a trophy in recognition of their efforts. Guardiola’s relentless pursuit of perfection has seen City – without a recognized striker – come close to almost any competition. It’s now up to the players to pick themselves up and drag them across the line.

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