Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has defended his “amazing” players and said maybe he is not good enough for them.
City have lacked consistency since opening the season with 10 successive wins, and Guardiola conceded defeat in the title race after last weekend’s 4-0 loss at Everton left them 10 points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea.
Their form has raised questions over the quality of Guardiola’s squad and whether he believes he has the right players.
He said: “They are good players. I have respect for the guys, so why would I say the guys are not good?
“So I don’t understand the lack of respect for the professionals when they have been amazing players, and [people saying] they are not good enough for me. Maybe I am not good enough for them.
“They are Manchester City players, top players. They have a lot of quality. They have shown that many times in the past and this season.”
One player who has come in for regular criticism is goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, who was brought in by Guardiola to replace England No 1 Joe Hart earlier in the campaign.
The 33-year-old Chilean did not make a single save last week as Everton scored from all four of their shots at Goodison Park, but Guardiola feels he himself must shoulder some of the blame for that.
Guardiola has not settled on a regular defensive line this term, making numerous changes in terms of both personnel and formation.
Asked if this may have been an issue, Guardiola said: “Maybe, maybe. Yes, maybe. Yes, [I take] all the responsibility as a manager.
“I never in my life – never – say the reason why we lost is because of Claudio Bravo. It’s one of the reasons why, but there are many many other reasons why.
“Maybe the reason why is because we changed the defence – maybe – but we will never know that.”