Pep Guardiola hopes Messi stays at Barcelona

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Pep Guardiola has refused to discuss rumours linking Manchester City with Lionel Messi, saying he hopes the Argentine star stays in Barcelona.

Recent reports have cast doubt over six-time world player of the year Messi’s future at Barcelona.

City boss Pep, however, is unwilling to discuss any transfer matters until the end of the current campaign.

“I am not going to speak until the end of the season,” said Pep. “My wish is that Messi is going to stay at Barcelona.”

Pep says he must shoulder the blame for Manchester City’s results in the Premier League this season.

City slipped to their ninth league defeat of the season at Southampton on Sunday, which is more than they lost in the previous two seasons combined.

When asked what has been missing in key matches, Pep said: “Our consistency, not converting our gameplan and the way we played into results.

“In this business, you have to win. When you lose nine games you cannot win the Premier League, maybe years ago but not now. The champions always have to score above 90 points.

“I was not able to solve this problem we had since the beginning. I remember the game against Tottenham at home (in August). They had two shots on target, we had more than 20, and we drew.

“Southampton was quite similar and I was not able to change this dynamic in many games.”

The priorities for City this season are now the Champions League and FA Cup but Pep says they need to avoid the costly errors that have hampered them in the Premier League.

“When we can play the way we can and we are consistent in both boxes, we will have a big opportunity to go through,” said Guardiola ahead of Wednesday’s Premier League game at home to Newcastle.

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