Pep Guardiola says he did not enjoy dropping Joe Hart and Yaya Toure, but insists he is the “chief” at Manchester City.
Hart was demoted from his first-choice goalkeeper role and loaned out to Serie A side Torino this summer. Guardiola has also refused to play Toure until the player’s agent apologises for public criticism of him.
Other big-money players in Samir Nasri, Wilfried Bony and Eliaquim Mangala have also been loaned out, but Guardiola, who has won all nine of his competitive games in charge of City, maintains he has made all decisions for the club, not for himself.
“I don’t take the decisions to show my authority, I don’t like to take those decisions,” he said.
“The toughest decision was Joe. I know what it means, Joe Hart for this club, but when I take a decision I am always thinking what is the best for Manchester City.
“I know I am going to make a mistake but I have to do that. I did it when I was 37 years old with the first team in Barcelona, and now I am older.”
Commenting on Toure’s absence from his squad, Guardiola said: “The club cannot accept a manager [agent] talking in the media about decisions of the club. The players know that.
“The managers, the wives, the fathers, the sons, talking about something that is not good benefit for the club – they are not going to be part of the team.
“I don’t know if they agree or not but in terms of what happens in my squad, I am the chief. I am going to decide. I don’t like to do that, but it is the best for the club.”
However, Guardiola insists the striker – who has scored nine goals in five games for City this season – must improve if he is to keep his place in the starting line-up.
“Of course the striker has to score goals,” Guardiola added. “I am so, so happy with Sergio but I want more. He can do better.
“I don’t want Sergio to run too much without the ball – I don’t want him running 40 metres without the ball – but four, five, six seconds’ effort, he can do that.
“I try to convince them what they have to do. We prefer to have the ball, we believe we can create more chances, but when we don’t have the ball we will try to press to win the ball again as soon as possible.
“When I see one player not go to the press, what I feel is they don’t want to play. They don’t want the ball. They prefer the ball for the opponent. I don’t like that.
“I like the ball in our possession and after that try to create as much as possible.”