City will pounce if Liverpool slip up: Guardiola

Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus stretches to tap in his first goal during their 3-0 win over Wolves. The Brazilian later added a second to take his prolific run this year to seven from three games as the champions cut Liverpool's lead atop the Premie
Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus stretches to tap in his first goal during their 3-0 win over Wolves. The Brazilian later added a second to take his prolific run this year to seven from three games as the champions cut Liverpool's lead atop the Premier League to four points.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Pep Guardiola said that he has no "magician's ball" to tell him how many points his Manchester City side may need to retain their Premier League title, following Monday's 3-0 win over Wolves that cut leaders Liverpool's lead to four points.

The Spaniard, however, also warned that his men are ready to pounce if the Reds, on 57 points after 22 games, falter. City took last season's title with a record 100 points.

After two goals from Gabriel Jesus and a Conor Coady own goal at the Etihad, Guardiola was quizzed on the number of points needed to become champions this year.

"I don't have a magician's ball to discover how many. I said to them (the players) don't look at the schedule, don't look at the calendar for the Liverpool games," he said.

"Forget about it, normally when this happens in my experience you then lose your own games. And then it's over. All we can do is win our games and be there and maybe one day they fail; but if we don't win, they will be champions.

"The best way is to look at the next game - Huddersfield. If Liverpool win the title, then I am sure I will congratulate Jurgen (Klopp) because it will be well deserved."

Two first-half goals from Jesus showed City had banished their shaky December form, when they lost three league games to Chelsea, Crystal Palace and Leicester.

Monday's victory was their third straight in the league and fifth in a row in all competitions since the loss to the Foxes on Boxing Day.

  • 12 Goals Gabriel Jesus has scored in his last eight appearances for Manchester City in all competitions at the Etihad Stadium.

Two weeks into 2019, they have scored a remarkable 21 goals in four home games and 99 in all competitions already this campaign.

Jesus had scored just three times in his 16 league games coming into the new year but his two-goal showing continued his rich vein of form. He scored once in the seven-goal FA Cup third-round win over Rotherham and hit four in last week's 9-0 League Cup semi-final first-leg humiliation of Burton, and now has seven goals in his past three outings.

City's task was made easier when Willy Boly made a rash challenge after 19 minutes. The French defender's out-of control, one-footed lunge at Bernardo Silva may not have been malicious but was deserving of a straight red.

"It was quite a bad tackle but I'm fine," said Silva. "Yes, he did apologise at the end of the game. These things happen."

Nuno Espirito Santo also had no complaints about the straight red.

"It's very close to me and I think it's a clear red card," the Wolves manager said.

"Playing with 11 is tough, but playing with 10 is even harder. It was a tough night. Since we conceded the first goal, it became very difficult.

"There's no doubt about the result, they controlled the game and had the chances."

THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 16, 2019, with the headline 'City will pounce if Liverpool slip up: Guardiola'. Print Edition | Subscribe