Pep Guardiola could only lead Manchester City to third place finish in his first season at the English Premier League, with eight points separating them and second place Tottenham.

So, the former Barcelona manager has gone back to the drawing board in a bid to win the EPL in the 2017/18 season.

They return to the fray this weekend having spent around 200 million ($261 million, 221.3 million euros) on players and Guardiola believes an exciting new team is taking shape.

"With all respect to the players, last season we were one of the oldest teams in the Premier League. We didn't buy full-backs for five, six years," said Guardiola.

"We decided last season we could change the team to make the team younger for the next four or five years.

"Danilo is 26, (Benjamin) Mendy is 23, Bernardo (Silva) is 22, Ederson is 23, so we bought players who are going to be stable for the next years."

Guardiola has tested out a three-man defence in pre-season, with Stones lining up alongside Nicolas Otamendi and captain Vincent Kompany, whose ability to remain fit will once again be under scrutiny.

Playing three at the back may enable Guardiola to associate Aguero and Jesus in attack, after he generally used a single-striker system last season following Jesus's arrival in January.

Last season was the first time in his managerial career that he finished a campaign without having added at least one trophy to his collection.

Another season without silverware will raise serious doubts as to whether he really is the man to carry City to the summit of European football for the first time.

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