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Pep Guardiola has found motivation in his Manchester City players’ displays of determination and “anger,” and he sees this hunger as a crucial factor in their quest to defend the Champions League title.

The coach expressed his satisfaction with the response of his players during half-time in their 3-1 victory against West Ham. City had been trailing 1-0 at the break, and Guardiola was pleased to witness his players’ determination to reverse the course of the match.

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“The manager can go on TikTok and repeat motivation but it doesn’t work. Every player has to be moved and feel that,” Guardiola told a press conference. “It belongs to them, I knew at half-time I should come to the players because they were angry.

“I said ‘Why are you angry, you’re losing 1-0 but performing well. Be clinical upfront and you’d be 3-1 up?’ We push them, they have an incredible mentality, to never give up.”

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City begin their defence of the Champions League this week and Guardiola hopes his team do not become complacent after finally winning Europe’s top prize last season. “The important thing is that the players don’t feel relaxed. If the board are relaxed, good, they don’t score goals. For our club to win the Champions League is something incredible.

“How many teams have won one Champions League. In perspective we didn’t do anything special, just one. For us the club didn’t have it, to be part of that is proud.”

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Guardiola’s team commences their group stage journey with a seemingly uncomplicated home match against Crvena zvezda on Tuesday night.

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