City's Premier League title celebrations reach fever pitch

An exuberant Manchester City fan celebrating on the Etihad Stadium pitch after the 5-0 Premier League win over Swansea. The Football Association is investigating the pitch invasion but City manager Pep Guardiola is relaxed about the prospect of a pen
An exuberant Manchester City fan celebrating on the Etihad Stadium pitch after the 5-0 Premier League win over Swansea. The Football Association is investigating the pitch invasion but City manager Pep Guardiola is relaxed about the prospect of a penalty, saying that fans are allowed to be emotional.PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS
An exuberant Manchester City fan celebrating on the Etihad Stadium pitch after the 5-0 Premier League win over Swansea. The Football Association is investigating the pitch invasion but City manager Pep Guardiola is relaxed about the prospect of a pen
Gabriel Jesus scoring City's fifth goal of the game. In the absence of injured star striker Sergio Aguero, Jesus shows he can do the job just as effectively.PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

LONDON • The Manchester City fans came to see a victorious coronation and were not disappointed, as they witnessed a masterclass from their newly crowned Premier League champions on what was a festive Sunday afternoon.

And City manager Pep Guardiola afterwards played down a post-match pitch invasion that the Football Association (FA) is investigating after his team celebrated their league title with an emphatic 5-0 victory over struggling Swansea.

The final whistle saw hundreds of supporters storm onto the pitch, despite the best efforts of club security and appeals over the loudspeakers at the Etihad Stadium.

There was also at least one flare let off among the fans, with captain Vincent Kompany and Benjamin Mendy the last players to leave for the safety of the dressing room.

There was no threat involved in the celebrations and Mendy - who had made his first appearance as a substitute after seven months out with a cruciate injury - could even be seen jumping up and down and celebrating with jubilant City fans.

There were recent precedents for retrospective action taken by the FA, with third-tier Wigan having recently been charged for allowing their supporters to "encroach" on the pitch following their famous 1-0 win over Guardiola's side in their FA Cup fifth-round tie in February.

IF YOU'RE HAPPY AND YOU KNOW IT

Football is an emotional game... but when they (the fans) feel they want to share that they are happy... I'm not going to tell them don't do that.

PEP GUARDIOLA, on the celebrations.

The Spaniard, however, was relaxed about the prospect of a penalty.

"No problem," he said. "Football is an emotional game. I understand you have to be careful, but when they (the fans) feel they want to share that they are happy... I'm not going to tell them don't do that.

"If they are happy, I like to be close with the team. They show how happy they are and that is the most beautiful thing. The fans here were so happy."

Guardiola did joke that he would like to see his supporters "save the grass" with his side having two more home games, and two on the road, before they complete a record-breaking campaign.

The marks for most wins (30), most goals (103) and most points (95) are all still well within his team's reach, while another fell as City became the first team in a league game to attempt more than 1,000 passes since the 2003-04 season.

They attempted 1,015 in total as the Swans were put to the sword.

A guard of honour was given by the visitors, and City took just 11 minutes to open the scoring through David Silva. Raheem Sterling swept home five minutes later before Kevin de Bruyne claimed the goal of the game with a long-range strike on 53 minutes.

Guardiola later hailed de Bruyne as the best player in the league in his opinion, despite being pipped to the PFA Player of the Year award by Liverpool's Mohamed Salah on Sunday, saying that there was "no better player better" than the Belgian.

Bernardo Silva and Gabriel Jesus completed the rout, which ensured six City players have now scored double figures for the season and Guardiola highlighted that statistic as a reason why City won the league with five games to play.

"That is the reason why when one team just depends on one or two players to score goals, you cannot achieve what we achieved," he added.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 24, 2018, with the headline 'City's Premier League title celebrations reach fever pitch'. Print Edition | Subscribe