UNITED KINGDOM: Pep Guardiola believes it is imperative he is given time at Manchester City after the manager admitted he had been left "worried" by his team's six-game winless streak ahead of two crucial games.
City's 1-0 defeat by Manchester United in the EFL Cup on Wednesday consigned Guardiola to the worst run of results in his managerial career. But while he is confident his players will be better for the experience in the future, he is desperate to ease concerns by beating West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns tonight, before the visit of Barcelona to the Etihad Stadium in the Champions League on Tuesday.
City are top of the Premier League on goal difference but have taken just two points from the past three games, while defeat by Barcelona would leave them with four points from as many Champions League matches.
Asked if he could learn anything from his previous worst run of results, at Barcelona in 2009, Guardiola said: "I don't remember what I thought when I was five games in Barcelona without winning. Ithink it would be a worry, that you have to win right now for the minds of the players. Maybe this will make us stronger for the future.
"Normally when you win, I will get time. So the people didn't think I needed time after we beat Stoke [in August]. I think we are close. That is my feeling."
Guardiola is adamant he has no intention of playing the long-ball game like Tony Pulis's "special" West Brom, from whom he is expecting a stiff challenge. But he would like to see his strikers, Sergio Aguero and Kelechi Iheanacho, become adept at allowing the team to play more directly on occasion by holding up the ball better.
"When the opponents come you have to use that pass - more direct but not a long ball because they [the strikers] are not going to win the long ball," Guardiola said. "We don't have strikers strong enough to play that way."
Vincent Kompany faces as much of a challenge to prove he can adapt to Guardiola's playing style as to win his fitness battle.
Asked about Kompany's future, Guardiola said: "He has a contract. When he's fit he's going to have the same options to play as his team-mates. Then it depends on my decision, his quality, performance."