Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has admitted he could be sacked just like any other manager if his results did not meet the club's standards. The Catalan coach's admission comes as he faces the possibility of missing out on the Premier League title for the first time in three seasons, with Arsenal in pole position to be crowned champions.
As he prepares his City side to face Southampton at St Mary's, Guardiola will shake hands with the third different manager in the opposite dugout, with Ruben Selles in charge after Nathan Jones and Ralph Hasenhuttl were sacked earlier this season.
In the past month alone, four managers have left their posts with Graham Potter, Antonio Conte, Brendan Rodgers and Patrick Vieira all receiving the axe from their respective clubs. It means a record 12 top-flight bosses have now been handed their P45 this season as trigger-happy club owners become increasingly impatient with their bosses.
Guardiola, who has won the Premier League in four of the last five seasons and is yet to be sacked in his 15-year management career, does not believe he is immune from the sack. But the 52-year-old says he has had no need to be concerned as his results to date have been good enough to protect himself.
"I’ll tell you a secret - we win games. But if we didn’t win games, I would be sacked," Guardiola told reporters, as quoted by The Mirror. "I’m not sacked because we’ve won a lot of games during these years."
The Spaniard reflected on how times have changed in the Premier League and theorised that managers are now given less time to turn results around than when he first arrived in the UK seven years ago.
"It's modern times, unfortunately," he added. "Before it was more difficult to sack managers - but today it's always around the corner. I think the owners take a decision in how he (the manager) works. The results are important, but it’s about how he works, if the plan works.
"In this country, when I was younger, you always had the tradition to keep managers. Today with different owners, and a lot of pressure and investment, everyone has pressure.
"People believe in change because they believe they can be better. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. All the managers know this. If it doesn’t happen you always take a risk."
Guardiola's fortunes have been helped by the significant financial backing he has received since arriving at the club in 2016. But the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich tactician has a propensity for unlocking a new level in Players who were already at City, from Raheem Sterling to Kevin de Bruyne.
Erling Haaland has been another successful story with the Norwegian firing 28 goals in the Premier League this season. The 22-year-old will return to the squad after missing the 4-1 win over Liverpool with a groin problem and his goals will be vital to City if they are to bridge the eight-point gap to league leaders Arsenal.
And Guardiola has warned his Players that if they fail to win on the South Coast, their title hopes are over: "It depends on us how many games we'll play," he said. "We'll see what happens. Win games and we are alive, don't win and we are out. Arsenal is in two or three weeks.
"If we drop points, Arsenal will be champions in advance. If we win, we could be champions on the last day. We are used to it, so it’s not a problem."