Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has suggested that his team became too accustomed to winning in recent seasons and actually needed the challenge of their recent struggles.
City ended a four-game win-less streak in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon by narrowly beating Luton Town – a first meeting between the sides since a third tier encounter in April 1999. It wasn't without trouble either, having fallen behind in first half stoppage time.
Two goals in quick succession from Bernardo Silva and Jack Grealish scraped the win and Luton, through ex-Manchester United winger Tahith Chong, even had a late chance to equalise.
"As a manager, I sometimes need that challenge," Guardiola had said in the build-up. "I think for everyone in the club, it's good what we are living. I think it's necessary to live that.
"For a long time, [it was about] how good we are, like a cat [being stroked]. And maybe we need to say it's terrible. It's all beautiful and now we are not able to win one game.
"Maybe for myself first, I need that challenge to prove I'm a good manager to lift the players and hope for them to overcome that situation. For the players, it's a good challenge, to say: Aston Villa were miles better than all of us," he added referring to the midweek defeat.
"We can say: 'Aston Villa, were better than us, imagine how good the other ones are'. And the club, the whole organisation could say: 'We may be out of the Champions League next season. We have to work hard.' After everything that has happened in the last few years, we need it. Nothing is going to change, the club will still be here. Even if we have a bad season, next season we will be back.
"But still, we are in December, not even finished the first [half of the season] and have a lot of games to play. The Champions League [knockout] competition, it's there. The FA Cup, we play at home against Huddersfield. We have a lot of beautiful things happening, we have to embrace it. We are saying that, all positive and with a smile, let's embrace it. The club, we need it and I need it. Weeks ago, I said: ‘The club needs a shake’. Bad results can help you to lift that."