Guardiola urges 'handsome' team to seal title

Pep Guardiola does not think Liverpool is going to drop too many points in their bid for the title.
Pep Guardiola does not think Liverpool is going to drop too many points in their bid for the title.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Pep Guardiola has called on his Manchester City players to finish the season with a 100 per record in their final three games after a 2-0 Premier League victory at Manchester United saw them move into a position of strength at the top of the table.

The champions, whose only blot on the copybook was a knee injury suffered by Fernandinho, are now a point ahead of title rivals Liverpool (88 points) with three games to go after second-half goals from Bernardo Silva and substitute Leroy Sane extended their streak to 11 straight league wins - a run not bettered by any team this term.

Guardiola, who also praised the Reds as "deserving of the title", said: "I don't think Liverpool are going to drop too many points, but it's in our hands - three games.

"Maybe tonight we can enjoy it, but tomorrow, it's over, it's gone, so we have to be focused.

"I know people are going to talk about how beautiful we are, how handsome we are, but now, we have to go to Burnley (on Sunday) and, in my two previous seasons, going to Burnley was incredibly tough.

"If we win our last three games, we are champions and that is what we are going to try to do."

The 48-year-old also hailed his team for winning at Old Trafford "with the pressure we had" and having to cope with their "really tough" Champions League exit on away goals to Tottenham after drawing 4-4 on aggregate.

The Spaniard added: "That is the most incredible detail for these players. They have my incredible respect. It's massive what they've done this season. It's incredible the mentality and the strength, doing what we have to do.

"Manchester City have to be so, so proud of these players. We can go with our heads up everywhere... we're honest in the way we play."

Sane also echoed his manager's thoughts, urging his teammates to "stay focused" on the task of becoming the first team to retain the league title since United in 2009.

The Germany forward said: "Every one of us wants to do the back-to-back. We're really happy about this win because it is the derby, a special game, and also really important for the Premier League.

"Now we just have to rest and then focus again for Burnley. The last three games won't be easy at all."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 26, 2019, with the headline 'Guardiola urges 'handsome' team to seal title'. Print Edition | Subscribe