Guardiola: Players ‘have permission to play awful’

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has told his players they "have permission to play awful" as they continue to adjust to his brand of football.

The Citizens are flying high at the summit of the Premier League standings, having picked up maximum points from their opening six fixtures of the Premier League campaign.

Be that as it may, Guardiola feels his side is yet to reach the level of performances he expects.

After City's 3-1 triumph over Swansea at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday, Guardiola was asked whether he felt his side was playing close to their best level.

"No, we are far, we are far. It would be boring: if we are close I can go back home," Guardiola said.

"We are here to get better, when you think it's done why should you keep going? It never ends in football. Always you can play better.

"Individual performance, collective performance, the reason why we play better… the opponents always create different things every game, how we solve that during the game, we don't have time before the game, that's why the game is nice."

While the Citizens' impressive performances have led many to tip them to claim the Premier League title this term, Guardiola was quick to point out that his players would be given some leeway regarding their performances at this early stage of the season.

He added: "I said many times I am so happy, because they work a lot, they know that all the staff are working 24 hours for them.

"When they are at home with their wives they know that we are there working for them, to get better. 

"They have permission to play awful. They don't have permission to not run, but they have all the permission to play awful because that is necessary to play like this, because we are going to be better the next time. 

"From the beginning, the first training session, for many people here they start to work a lot and with a lot of personality, so we are so happy how they live their jobs, their lives as football players."