Tag Archives: Guardiola

Pep Guardiola moves closer to 'dream' Man City team with possible Jack Grealish transfer

Pep Guardiola moves closer to 'dream' Man City team with possible Jack Grealish transfer

Pep Guardiola will move closer to having his dream Manchester City team if the club confirms the signing of Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish. England star Grealish, who is on international duty at Euro 2020, is reportedly close to a huge £100million move to the Premier League champions.

The 25-year-old has spent his entire career at Villa – aside from time on loan at Notts County in 2013 – but appears set to depart his boyhood club.

Grealish scored six league goals and provided a further 12 assists last term despite missing nearly two months with a knee injury.

Man City boss Guardiola is keen to further improve his squad despite finishing 12 points above top-flight runners-up and rivals Manchester United.

The Red Devils, alongside Chelsea and Liverpool, will likely heavily strengthen their ranks to try to catch up with City.

Losing the Champions League final against Chelsea has likely convinced Guardiola that he must improve his options to finally win Europe’s top prize.

JUST IN: Manchester City ‘close to signing Jack Grealish from Aston Villa’

Kane, albeit a striker, is known to enjoy dropping deep and making passes. The England captain often played as an attacking midfielder while coming through Spurs’ academy.

Phil Foden has played in wide positions under Guardiola despite being recognised as more of a midfielder.

Guardiola’s full-backs are comfortable on the ball. The 50-year-old converted Oleksandr Zinchenko from a central midfielder into a left-back. Kyle Walker and Joao Cancelo are excellent in possession.

Even goalkeeper Ederson is famous for his varied range of passes.

TalkSPORT claim that Grealish is closing in on a British record transfer to City, who next season will try to win their fourth title in their previous six campaigns.

“I like players with the ability to keep the ball, it is one of the biggest principles I look for,” Guardiola said in April.

“The ball is the best way to defend and people have to keep the ball in difficult circumstances.

“In all my career, I have played with a lot of midfield players.

“I have the feeling that you can play better with this, but at the same time we need everyone.

“Gabriel was so important this season, and I’m not going to talk about how important Kun (Sergio Auguero) has been and was in the past.

“Unfortunately, he was injured most of the last year but now he is fit again.

“Raheem again – everyone is important but I have to admit that the players know I like it when they keep the ball and after we see what I produce with that.”

And if Grealish joins, it looks like Guardiola’s dream will be a reality.

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

Man City boss Pep Guardiola gives blunt response when asked about surprise starting XI

Man City boss Pep Guardiola gives blunt response when asked about surprise starting XI
Pep Guardiola insists he did what was best for the team when quizzed on his Champions League final lineup. Manchester City fell short in Porto against Chelsea after Kai Havertz’s winner saw them record a famous night at the Estadio do Dragao.
Thomas Tuchel appears to have Guardiola’s number, having now beaten him three times since arriving at Stamford Bridge.

Guardiola has often faced scrutiny on the European stage with City for tinkering with his team in the crunch matches.

Frustrating defeats to Monaco, Liverpool and Lyon in the past have stopped his side from conquering the game on the continental stage.

Tonight Guardiola left out a defensive midfielder and instead brought in an extra attacker in Raheem Sterling.

JUST IN: Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel explains joy that Champions League superstition came true

Not only has Sterling been out of form but City’s captain Fernandinho is the club’s most-experienced player who has been central to their success in recent times.

Rodri was also absent and named on the bench and the decision appeared to cost City.

Yet Guardiola insisted he made what he felt was the right call.

“I did what was best for the team,” he said to BT Sport’s Des Kelly when quizzed on the lack of a holding midfielder.

Despite falling short in Europe once again, Guardiola remains insistent that there is plenty to be proud of as he looks to rally his troops ahead of next season.

“Exceptional season for us, today we’re sad, but we’ll analyse how exceptional the season was for us. It was a tight game, we had almost first gear chances, they missed one with [Timo] Werner, in the second-half with [Christian] Pulisic,” he said.

“In the second-half, we were brilliant, we were brave but we could not convert the goals, because defensively they are so strong, so fast in the counter-attack. We didn’t allow them to make the process to play, the players were exceptional for them. Yeah, we’ll come back maybe one day again.

“He was injured, but it happened. This kind of competition, in these games, we need everyone, we need everyone to do it and Kevin was injured.

“The ambition now is rest. After we will prepare for the next season and try to recover with the players coming back in two or three months. Game by game, we will try to do it.

“It’s the first time we’re at these stages, for us, it’s a moment to be here and hopefully we will return in the future.”

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

Pep Guardiola provides clear hint Man City will try to sign £150m Tottenham ace Harry Kane

Pep Guardiola provides clear hint Man City will try to sign £150m Tottenham ace Harry Kane
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has admitted that he would love to sign a world-class attacker this summer, fuelling speculation that the newly-crowned Premier League champions could go all out to land Tottenham‘s wantaway striker Harry Kane. The 27-year-old is believed to be angling for a move after informing the north London club of his desire to seek a new challenge ahead of next season.
City are said to be keeping a close eye on the England skipper’s situation, with Guardiola in need of a new striker to replace Sergio Aguero, who has reportedly agreed to join Barcelona on a free transfer.

However, they are likely to face stiff competition from Manchester United and Chelsea to secure Kane’s signature.

Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland is also understood to be on Guardiola’s summer wish list, but the 20-year-old could be out of the Spaniard’s reach with the Bundesliga outfit determined to retain his services.

This has led to Kane being earmarked as City’s priority target, with Tottenham reportedly slapping a monumental £150million price tag on their prized asset.

It remains to be seen whether Daniel Levy will decide to cash in, with the forward remaining under contract until the summer of 2024, but Guardiola has seemingly dropped a huge hint that City are preparing to throw everything at Spurs in order to push through a move.

JUST IN: Bruno Fernandes hints at Man Utd transfer for ex-Udinese team-mate

The 50-year-old revealed on Saturday that he would be overjoyed with the addition of a prolific striker, suggesting that in an ideal world, the club would land a player capable of chalking up a half-century of goals over the course of a season.

“I’d love to have a striker who got 50 goals a season, honestly,” said Guardiola. “At the same time, I don’t like to put all the pressure on one player.

“In Barcelona, Lionel Messi, every season since he was born, scored 50 a season. Thierry Henry scored a lot in the first season and Samuel Eto’o scored a lot – what a striker.”

City have played without an out-and-out striker in attack for much of the current season, with a number of players assuming the role since the beginning of the campaign.

DON’T MISS

One of the reasons behind the club’s impressive Premier League title win has been Guardiola’s ability to ensure that his side’s goal burden has been shared across the pitch.

Ilkay Gundogan is City’s top scorer after finding the net on 17 occasions in all competitions, while Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez have chipped in with 14 goals each.

Guardiola continued, stressing that while he is hopeful of landing a new talisman, the new recruit will not be able to lead the club’s attacking charge on his own.

“When you are to win titles, especially the Premier League, with just one guy you won’t win it,” he added.

“You need more – and the statistics speak for themselves. You need three guys with more than 10, scoring 12 or 15, to be competitive.

“But when you have a guy who can get 25 to 30 it helps a lot, honestly. We will try for the way we play for everyone to be involved.

“Raheem, Riyad and especially Gundogan this season, Phil Foden with his qualities, Sergio and Gabriel Jesus. As many players with this quality the better it will be.”

City will end their Premier League campaign on 86 points if they manage to see off the challenge of Everton on Sunday afternoon, with Aguero likely to make his final appearance for the club in front of a 10,000-strong crowd at the Etihad Stadium.

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

Pep Guardiola backing 'lion' Sergio Aguero to claim one more victim before Man City exit

Pep Guardiola backing 'lion' Sergio Aguero to claim one more victim before Man City exit
Pep Guardiola has backed his “lion in the jungle” Sergio Aguero for one last kill in his final Premier League appearance for the club.  

Aguero will be given the captain’s armband to lead City on his last outing at the Etihad if fit.

And his manager believes that, even off the back from injury which has kept him out City’s last two league outings, he has the inherent sharpness for one last pounce in front of 10,000 fans.

“The fans in the stadium and around the world will give him his tribute for what he’s done in terms of titles, numbers – which are incredible,” said Guardiola.

“When he’s fit and has continuity he’s a guy like Romario. In five metres he can – like a lion in the jungle – make a step to kill the opponents.

“His biggest quality (is) a unique sense (in front) of goal. 

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And he made it clear his presence will be missed when he moves on in the summer.

“First of all, he’s a nice person, funny, humble, he’s a legend. He’s come from Argentina to this country where it’s so difficult to score goals,” he explained. 

“And he has done it for many years. You cannot imagine how many more he’d have scored if he’d been fitter than he is.” 

Aguero, who along with David Silva and Vincent Kompany will be immortalised in bronze in statue form, scored 182 top-flight goals.

After only returning to training on Thursday, both player and manager will be mindful to keep something back for Porto next week should there be a chance for him to impact the match against Chelsea.

With regard to the rest of the squad, Guardiola said will select as normal.

“We are going to put players out to win the game,” he said. 

“We have six days until the Champions League final and if one player gets injured it is unlucky.

“They can get injured today or tomorrow. 

“Kyle Walker could not play against Brighton as he got injured, a twist in his ankle, playing with his children.”

Manchester City: Likely XI

(4-2-1-3): Ederson; Walker, Garcia, Laporte, Mendy; Rodri, Fernandinho; De Bruyne; Torres, Jesus, Foden. 

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

Pep Guardiola lauds 'huge success' after Man Utd defeat sees Man City clinch title

Pep Guardiola lauds 'huge success' after Man Utd defeat sees Man City clinch title
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has dubbed this season’s Premier League triumph ‘a huge success’ after his side were confirmed as champions on Tuesday evening. Manchester United’s home defeat at the hands of Leicester City saw the Champions League finalists claim their second title in three years as a welcome reward for their valiant efforts over the last nine months.
City made a stuttering start to the campaign, falling as low as eighth in the Premier League table over the Christmas period.

However, a sensational run of form at the turn of the year propelled them ahead of United and Liverpool to the division’s summit, and Guardiola’s side never looked back.

The likes of Ruben Dias, Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin de Bruyne have exceeded expectations on a weekly basis, with Tuesday’s result at Old Trafford simply confirming the inevitable.

Looking ahead, City will be hoping to complete a remarkable treble by downing Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea in the Champions League final later this month.

Guardiola was more than overjoyed after winning his 12th domestic title in management, hailing the success of his players in overcoming adversity to reclaim top spot in the Premier League once again.

JUST IN: Man City’s Pep Guardiola hailed as Premier League’s ‘best ever’ boss

“This has been a season and a Premier League title like no other,” the Spaniard told City’s official website.

“This was the hardest one. We will always remember this season for the way that we won.

“I’m so proud to be the manager here and of this group of players. They are so special. To come through this season – with all the restrictions and difficulties we’ve faced – and show the consistency we have is remarkable.

“It’s relentless. Every single day, they are there, fighting for success, trying always to be better. They have been so, so resilient.

DON’T MISS

“That is equally true of each and every member of our backroom staff, who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that our players are fully equipped to take on the unexpected challenges and new routines throughout such a turbulent year.”

Guardiola went on to highlight the difficulty of competing to win football matches without the presence of fans inside the Etihad Stadium spurring the team on.

The City boss also dedicated his side’s triumph to the supporters and the late Colin Bell, who passed away earlier in the season and will be fondly remembered as one of the club’s greatest ever players.

“At the start of every season, the Premier League is the most important title for us,” added Guardiola.

“This is the one where you have to be there every three days, playing all your rivals, home and away. Only by being the very best, week-in, week-out, can you win this competition. It’s a huge success.

“It’s so important to say a huge thank-you to all our fans. In our toughest moments, we couldn’t hear the crowd get behind us as usual.

“But we know they are with us everywhere we go and that’s lifted us. I promise them we sense their love, we appreciate it and we could not have done what we have done without it.

“I hope we can all celebrate together one day not too far away. It has been such a hard year for so many people. This one is really for our fans and for Colin Bell and all his family.”

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

Man City's Pep Guardiola hailed as Premier League's 'best ever' boss after title triumph

Man City's Pep Guardiola hailed as Premier League's 'best ever' boss after title triumph
Pep Guardiola was praised to the heavens after Manchester City were confirmed as 2020/21 Premier League champions. Guardiola’s City side recovered from a stuttering start to the season to eventually claim the title with three games of the season still to play.
City’s Premier League title was confirmed at the final whistle at Old Trafford, where City’s cross-town rivals Manchester United fell to a 2-1 home defeat by third-placed Leicester City.

And after the match, BT Sport pundit Robbie Savage was gushing with praise for Guardiola’s stewardship of the newly-crowned champions.

“Especially to think when they lost at Spurs, they were 14th in the table,” Savage recalled. 

“He then evolved the side, put Cancelo into the team, brought him into a midfield position – a free role – amazing performances. 

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“Pep improves players and that side is incredible. 

“For me, the best manager I’ve witnessed in the Premier League.”

Savage’s fulsome praise was shot down somewhat by former Manchester United star Rio Ferdinand.

“Just like Chris Sutton said, you should go and get your coat,” he said.

But Savage laughed off the good-natured jibe, and continued his argument for Guardiola being the best Premier League manager ever, ahead of Ferdinand’s former boss at Old Trafford, Sir Alex Ferguson.

Listen, the reason I’m saying this: Sir Alex, the record he has, but overall, at Bayern, Barcelona and Manchester City – the way teams from the Premier League down to grassroots play like Manchester City. I’ve never seen anything like it,” he offered.

“Listen, he’s won trophies with teams he should win trophies with. 

“If he wins the Champions League with Man City, for me, the best ever.”

Guardiola will get the chance to do just that when City take on Chelsea in the Champions League final on May 29.

That match, which was originally set to take place in Istanbul, could be set for a change of location, with Lisbon in Portugal and London’s Wembley Stadium both thought to be in the running as potential replacement hosts.

While Ferdinand was sure to check Savage’s view, the United legend also paid tribute to Guardiola for leading City to the title this season.

“You’ve got to give credit where it’s due,” he said. 

“Pep Guardiola’s men have bounced back, I thought Liverpool were fantastic the season before this and everyone thought: ‘Who are going to catch them?’.

“Pep went back to the drawing board, fixed things up at Man City and they came back flying, took the league by storm and deserved champions, definitely.”

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

Pep Guardiola 'proud' of Man City stars after beating PSG to reach Champions League final

Pep Guardiola 'proud' of Man City stars after beating PSG to reach Champions League final
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola revealed that he was ‘incredibly proud’ of his side after booking their place in this season’s Champions League final by overcoming Paris Saint-Germain in Tuesday evening’s decisive semi-final clash. Two goals either side of the interval from Riyad Mahrez sealed a 4-1 aggregate victory for the hosts, who will face Chelsea or Real Madrid for a shot at glory at the end of the month.
Guardiola made just two changes from the side that won 2-1 at the Parc des Princes six days ago, with Fernandinho and Oleksandr Zinchenko coming into the side in place of Rodri and Joao Cancelo.

The hosts faced the prospect of an early setback inside the opening five minutes when referee Bjorn Kuipers awarded a penalty to PSG for a handball by Zinchenko, but the decision was quickly overturned with the assistance of VAR.

The Ukranian full-back was heavily involved in his side’s opener just moments later, latching onto an exquisite through pass from Ederson to fire the ball into the mixer, with Mahrez eventually slotting home.

The latter was on target again shortly after the hour mark, before PSG winger Angel Di Maria was sent off for a petulant stamp on Fernandinho.

His dismissal caused the visitors to lose their composure and adopt an overly physical approach with their hopes of European glory fading away, before the full-time whistle confirmed their worst fears and ensured City’s place in the final.

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Speaking to BT Sport after the match, Guardiola admitted that he was thrilled with his side’s performance to maintain their hopes of a stunning treble this season.

After winning the Carabao Cup last month, City look set to claim the Premier League title this weekend, after which a maiden Champions League triumph will be at the top of the agenda.

“It is for all of us and the club,” said Guardiola.  “I’m incredibly proud and my first thoughts are with the players who didn’t play today.

“They all deserved to play, everyone has made a contribution and now it is time to enjoy it. We have to win the league and we have two or three weeks to prepare for the final.”

DON’T MISS

Although City deserved to progress and were undoubtedly the better side over the two legs, PSG will be aggrieved in equal measure after failing to match last season’s achievement of reaching the Champions League final.

Guardiola continued, praising his side’s beaten opponents and underlining the brilliance of City as the Premier League champions-elect made light work of the French heavyweights for the second time in a week.

“They win the league every year, they are a team built to win, they fought to the end,” added the Spaniard.

“They are a huge team, but we were so composed. We fought together and we’re in the final of the Champions League and those are nice words.

“People believe it’s easy to arrive in the final of the Champions League. Getting to the final now makes sense of what we have done in the past four or five years. Every day these guys have been consistent and this is remarkable.

“We scored a goal through the hips in the first game, and today Marquinhos hit the bar in the first half – you can be out for little details.”

City will clinch the Premier League title with three games to spare if they can beat Chelsea in their next outing on Saturday evening.

Guardiola will be keeping a close eye on tomorrow night’s match between the Blues and Real Madrid, with the two clubs finely poised at 1-1 ahead of their Champions League semi-final second-leg clash at Stamford Bridge.

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

Pep Guardiola explains key to Man City's brilliant PSG comeback but fires warning to stars

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

Pep Guardiola explains key to Man City's brilliant PSG comeback but fires warning to stars

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has given insight to what was said at half time to mastermind his team’s comeback in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final against Paris Saint-Germain. Goals from Kevin de Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez have given City a 2-1 lead heading into next week’s second leg at the Etihad.

PSG controlled large parts of the first half and deservedly took the lead through a Marquinhos header.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side failed to capitalise on their domination and could only take a 1-0 lead into the break.

Guardiola was pleased with the start his team made but admitted the lack of experience at the semi-final stage was clear to see.

Guardiola told BT Sport: “We started really and after we conceded the goal. We held the pressure.

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PSG then had Idrissa Gueye sent off for a poor tackle on Ilkay Gundogan to make the Ligue 1 side’s task even harder.

When asked what he changed at half time, Guardiola said he wanted his team to be more relaxed.

The Spaniard asked his players to change the way they pressed PSG, and it worked wonders.

“Sometimes you need to be more relaxed, the first half was normal,” he added.

“In 180 minutes you don’t want to lose the ball, you don’t play free.

“We changed the way we press, we were so passive. The last 10-15 minutes we were more aggressive because it’s not easy against Neymar, [Kylian] Mbappe and [Angel] Di Maria.

“After we found the goals and scored another one and so satisfied with the performance. But it’s only halfway and we have many minutes still to beat them and PSG is a team where anything can happen.”

It is only City’s second semi-final in their history and first under Guardiola.

And the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss has warned his players that the job is not yet done.

“This club does not have much experience in the latter stages of this competition,” he said.

“We have to realise ourselves anything can happen.” 

De Bruyne also spoke about what was said at half time and admitted the second-half showing was a vast improvement.

“Just play a little bit more with the ball,” the Belgian said.

“I think the first half we were too rushed. We wanted to go forward too quickly. That’s not the way we’re set up as a team. Second half we did really well. We tried to find the spaces more patiently.

“Obviously they’re a really tough team to play against and I think the progression we made was good.”

Man City boss Pep Guardiola so close to ending Champions League pain after 2-1 PSG win

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

Man City boss Pep Guardiola so close to ending Champions League pain after 2-1 PSG win

It is scarcely credible that Pep Guardiola has not been involved in a Champions League final for a decade. He will never have a better chance to end that run.

The second-half show on Wednesday night that his Manchester City side put on in Paris – as fabulous in its own way as anything seen at the Folies Bergere – sets them up perfectly for their shot next week.

Surely this will be the year Guardiola marks his return to European club football’s gilded stage.

The pressure that has built with each barren year given the resources at his command has undoubtedly weighed heavily – he was sent off at half-time in the second leg against Liverpool three seasons ago for a rant at the referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz.

This time his aim was to melt away the high anxiety that had accompanied each failed mission in Europe.

His manner in the build-up had been relaxed and accepting. If it works out it works out. If not, well enjoy the view. There are worse ones to have than the Parc des Princes, Paris, for a Champions League semi-final.

His stress-free outlook was mirrored by his men last night as they kept their heads and the Parisian hot heads lost theirs.

It was an exacting first half for City against talented opponents. The man in black paced his technical area and pointed here, there and everywhere, shifting his pieces to try to deal with what was coming at his side.

Living it? Yes. Enjoying it? Well that would be pushing it.

But after the break Guardiola was able to smile like he meant it as PSG cracked under City’s swarming barrage and suffered a collective defensive breakdown.

The City manager’s half-time directive for his full-backs to push on and some more patient approach work left the increasingly rattled home side with nowhere to go.

The dart thrown at Guardiola is that he has over-thought knockout games since his arrival at the Etihad, particularly last season with his ill-fated shape change against Lyon in the quarterfinal.

It was not an accusation that could have been levelled at him in the French capital last night. The no striker policy he employed may have been novel at one point for City but they have used it regularly over the season and played their best football with the system.

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While the temptation must have been to tweak it at the interval Guardiola trusted in his instincts and in the end it all turned to gold with their 18th consecutive away win.

City cannot quite count their chickens yet. The menace of the devastating PSG frontline has their opponents permanently on edge.

But the English champions-elect are so close. And so is Guardiola.

Pep Guardiola had brief Man Utd title fear as Man City three wins from toppling Liverpool

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

Pep Guardiola had brief Man Utd title fear as Man City three wins from toppling Liverpool
Manchester United may have been a real threat to Manchester City‘s chances of winning the Premier League had the Citizens not found a way past Aston Villa on Wednesday night, admits Pep Guardiola, who says he briefly feared United were real title rivals before his charges recovered for a huge victory.
City found themselves 1-0 down inside just 21 seconds at Villa Park after John McGinn’s effort as the hosts started strong.

Guardiola’s men recovered though and were 2-1 up heading into half-time thanks to Phil Foden and Rodri’s strikes.

But City were cut to 10 men before the break after a John Stones yellow card for a foul on Jacob Ramsey was upgraded to a red following a VAR check.

Just 11 minutes into the second half Villa also lost a man however as Matty Cash picked up a second yellow and City were able to maintain their one-goal lead until the full-time whistle.

Victory means City move 11 points clear of second-placed United with five matches left, though the Red Devils have played a game less.

Still, City are now just eight points from their third Premier League title in the past four seasons after winning in the Midlands, and will hope to dethrone current champions Liverpool as soon as possible given their Champions League ambitions.

And Guardiola admitted had City not managed to come from behind for their first Premier League win after conceding the first goal since December 2019, United would be “dangerous” to their title bid.

Defeat would have allowed United to trim the gap to five points, though City’s superior goal difference now essentially means two wins and a draw from their final five should be enough for yet another triumph, the club’s fifth in the Premier League era.

“Losing today would have made the last games dangerous,” admitted Guardiola, who also told BBC Sport that City are “so close” to the title after beating Villa, in his post-match press conference.

“Because United are in top form, winning a lot, and I have the feeling that if they needed to win, they are going to win.

“We deserved to win for the way we have played so far this season to have this advantage, and when you arrive in the last five games depending just on yourself, it is a good boost.
“We know exactly what we need and that is the way we played today. I saw the team, they were committed and knew that we were close.

“After our two defeats in different competitions, we knew how important it was – and for the preparation for the [Carabao Cup] final and for the Champions League game.

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“It’s close, the most difficult season of our lives we make an incredible consistency and have to finish this chapter and have to finish the few games.”

City now have a League Cup final to look forward to on Sunday against Tottenham, who sacked Jose Mourinho this week.

Ryan Mason oversaw his first game as Mourinho’s temporary successor as a Spurs side without the injured Harry Kane came from behind to beat Southampton 2-1 on Wednesday night.