The frantic reaction of the Man City dressing room to Pep Guardiola’s star says it all

Pep Guardiola accused their Manchester City players of a lack of “passion, fire and desire” after a torrid first half against Tottenham earlier this month, but Nathan Ake admits the tirade was necessary.

Pep Guardiola produced a managerial masterstroke by naming an underperforming Manchester City player, according to Nathan Ake.

Guardiola accused City’s players of lacking “passion, fire and desire” after they came from 2-0 down to beat Tottenham 4-2 in the Premier League. Since that outburst, City have beaten Wolves 3-0 and knocked Premier League leaders and title rivals Arsenal out of the FA Cup on Friday.

Defender Ake – who scored the winner against the Gunners – hailed Guardiola for the warning City players needed to get their season back on track.

“Obviously he said that for a reason,” Ake said. “Maybe it was a little bit down but over the last few games we have shown we want to try, we want to compete and we did it again against Arsenal.

“We want to make sure that we will continue to fight for everything. That’s the only thing we can do as a team and as a club. We thought ‘okay, we have to improve.’ He’s been playing a long time, and seen everything, so he’s probably right. He’s at the top, top clubs and maybe did it to wake us up. It was needed and hopefully we can keep it now.

“The only thing we can do as a team is to fight back and show everyone and ourselves that we are still fighting and hungry. For us it’s great to keep running.

“We have to keep it going, not just now but throughout the season. We can’t let it fall again or have another period like that. From now on we have to make sure we keep going. We got a bit of a warning and have to confirm this from here.”

Pep Guardiola announced some truths at home about Man City’s current state earlier this month

Arsenal are five points clear of City with a game in hand, but the teams have faced each other twice in the league in the second half of the season, with the first at the Emirates on February 15.

Ake, 27, acknowledged Mikel Arteta’s consistency and team form, but claimed City can control title destiny, given they have faced the Gunners twice and could reduce their lead.

“We just have to stay focused on ourselves,” said Ake. “As long as we do our job, game by game, trying to win everything. Arsenal are doing very well this season but we still have to play them twice so, yeah, it’s up to us.

“They are a top team. We saw that last year when we played them in January. They already look really good and it’s hard to play against them.

“They showed again, they pressed us really high and it was difficult to play. So it’s difficult to play against them – they are a top team and are doing very well.

“Obviously when we play them again in a few weeks it will be a completely different game, but it’s always good to win – especially against a team like Arsenal and that can only help us.”

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