Pep Guardiola: Liverpool pushed Manchester City to the limit | I am nothing without my players | Soccer News
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has credited Liverpool with getting the most out of their own squad, while downplaying their contribution to the Premier League champions’ rise as the two rivals prepare to clash for the title on Super Sunday.
City lead Liverpool by just one point with one game to play on Sunday afternoon as Guardiola host Aston Villa while the Reds entertain Wolverhampton Wanderers, with the champions needing a win to secure the Championship. .
If City manage to cross the line at the Etihad then it will be their fourth title in the space of just five years, a remarkable feat for Guardiola and his team.
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However, the Catalan was quick to downplay his own role in City’s recent Premier League dominance, instead praising his players’ contributions to their success.
“Incredible, human-quality players and people,” Guardiola said in an exclusive interview with Sky Sports’ Patrick Davison ahead of the final day of the Premier League season on Sunday.
“Without that, no tactics, no ideas. Nothing, nothing, quality players.
Players ain’t stupid, I don’t need to tell them how good they are [Liverpool] are, they play against them and see them on TV
“All the other managers have amazing ideas and tactics. Praise in the world of football is so suspect. Every time you congratulate me, I don’t believe you. Not for a second, I’m so suspicious.
“Behind that are the players, the quality, the talent, the effort. When we’re good, it’s when we try to follow an idea together, but my ideas aren’t any more special than the others.
“I’ve found a lot of incredibly talented managers in the Championship or the Premier League who aren’t successful. Do you know why? They don’t have the good players we have, it’s as simple as that.”
Guardiola, 51, highlighted his maiden campaign at City when his new side won their first six Premier League games of the season and 10 of their first 11 games in all competitions before moving to Tottenham Hotspur in October 2016.
The visitors saw their winning start to the season end in a 2-0 defeat in north London, before losing five more times in the league as they finished third in the table, 15 points behind eventual champions Chelsea.
However, the City boss believes the difficult first season in England helped shape everything that happened to the club in the five years that followed.
“I remember perfectly the season where we won the first 10 games and then we went to White Hart Lane to play Mauricio Pochettino’s team, not Harry Kane’s team, Mauricio Pochettino’s team, and we lost,” he said.
“And I said, ‘Wow, if that team isn’t considered the favorite to win, it was Liverpool, United, Chelsea, Arsenal, whatever, we’re going to struggle, it’s tough my friend. It will be difficult, it was difficult.
“But it was a process, it’s a process, so we learned a lot, a lot that year with Mikel [Arteta]Rodolfo [Borrell]Domenec [Torrent]I learned a lot, it was amazing, like a master, a lesson, a teacher, it was like going to school a lot.
“And then, of course, the club changed squad because it was an old team, 11 players over 31, 32. The energy we have, they didn’t have it.
“It’s normal, a matter of time, we bring new energy and most of the things that happened in the second season happened in the first.
“Now I would say to Pep when he arrives, ‘be ready my friend because it’s tough, it’s tough’.”
And after reshaping the City squad with younger, more mobile players, it was then the start of one of the Premier League’s biggest rivalries that really helped his side to even higher levels.
“We wouldn’t achieve what we have without them [Liverpool]”, Guardiola said. “We have our opponent who takes you to the limits, otherwise complacency happens.
“The players aren’t stupid, I don’t need to tell them how good they are. They play against them and see them on TV and I said ‘wow, if we want to be there, we have to do it’.
“I think it’s quite similar to what they should think of us.”
What are the permutations of the title race on the final day?
Manchester City (90 points) have already won three Premier League titles on the final day of the season – in 2012, 2014 and 2019 – and they could do it again this Sunday. Pep Guardiola’s men lead liverpool by a solitary point.
This therefore means:
- Manchester City will win the Premier League if they beat Aston Villa on Sunday – or equal Liverpool’s result at home to Wolves.
- If City draw against Villa, liverpool will be crowned champions if they beat the wolves.
- Given their inferior goal difference, a draw would not be enough for Liverpool to be champions on Sunday should Manchester City lose by a seven-goal margin to Aston Villa.
An unlikely Premier League title play-off is still possible, should Man City and Liverpool finish with the same number of points, goal difference, goals scored and goals conceded – with their head-to-head record already at the level.
For this play-off to take place, Manchester City would need to lose 6-0 at home to Villa, with Liverpool and Wolves drawing 5-5 at Anfield.
Sky Bet’s odds to win the Premier League…
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