Pep Guardiola says his passion for Manchester City is constantly fueled by players and fans.
With his contract expiring at the end of the season, his remarks will encourage the club that he can soon extend his brilliant spell as manager of the reigning champions.
Guardiola hailed his side’s latest victory over Fulham on Saturday – secured by an Erling Haaland penalty in added time – as “the” highlight of his time at the Etihad Stadium so far.
That’s a statement considering the Catalan has overseen nine major trophies, including four Premier League titles, since taking charge in 2016.
Still, it’s clear from his jubilant celebrations that the 51-year-old remains fully immersed in City life.
“It’s not (just) me for them, or them for me,” he said. “It’s a return of experience. I give them enthusiasm but they give it to me.
“The way they play, I see the faces of our people. They give me energy for the future, for Chelsea and Brentford.
“I can’t disappoint them, I have to be there with them.”
Guardiola was particularly proud of Saturday’s dramatic 2-1 success given his side played most of the match with 10 men after Joao Cancelo was sent off.
He said: “What I’m most proud of is that after seven years we can still play the way we have this season. You can play well, play badly, win or lose, but when you lose it’s always what you have to do to do better.
“You see the team not giving up, the way they played after the sending off, some decisions. It was a perfect amount of grumpy energy that you need for 10v11. Otherwise you can give up. C That’s why we competed until the end.
Playmaker Kevin De Bruyne felt Guardiola’s fervent response highlighted the mix of emotions felt after securing such a victory under tense circumstances.
“It was the same as us – it all came out,” said the Belgian. “Sometimes it’s those end-of-season games that you watch and they’re really important, so that was good for us.”
De Bruyne admits he has few ideas about Guardiola’s future intentions.
He said: “I think he’s more and more relaxed because he’s been with us for so long. I think for him it’s also easier because if you go to a new team you have to teach again.
“Now, after seven years, it’s repeating itself, so I feel sometimes there’s less upside and maybe it’s calmer for him.
“But to be honest, I don’t know. I don’t think you’ll get much out of him. Everything is fine. He has his contract until the end of the year and then we’ll see.
Guardiola hailed De Bruyne’s influential display on Saturday, a strong response after the manager recently criticized his form.
De Bruyne said: “I think it’s good, he wants the top all the time and we try to get there. I don’t feel any harsh words, I just push to the limit.