‘Someone has to take us out’: Pep Guardiola is in a fighting mood as he looks to seal a fourth Premier League title in five seasons over rivals Liverpool on the final day
- Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is eager to win his fourth Premier League
- The Spaniard insists City have not dealt with this title charge any differently
- City will face Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium while Liverpool face Wolves
Pep Guardiola spent part of Friday talking about how similar this season had been to last, how Manchester City have not dealt with this title charge any differently from how they did the previous year’s canter.
He again maintained that the Premier League title is the most difficult prize to get your hands on, while insisting that is not to diminish the hurt they felt in Europe.
He again described why, in his view, more observers are willing Liverpool to finish top — reasoning that City are still newcomers to the elite and that only creating more history over time can change that.
Pep Guardiola insists Manchester City have not dealt with this title charge any differently
Parallels became his theme but Guardiola hopes and prays that symmetry skews just a little on Sunday afternoon.
Barely a week over a decade since that day against Queens Park Rangers, City do not want a repeat of the shenanigans that resulted in their first modern day title. They will take the end result but could do without the palpitations.
City have been planning for Aston Villa to arrive at the Etihad Stadium and upset in much the same way as QPR, who pounced on anxiety for a spell before Sergio Aguero etched his name into legend.
City have been planning for Aston Villa to arrive and upset in much the same way as QPR
‘We spoke about that,’ Guardiola said. ‘Maybe we have to live something uncomfortable but what can you do? React the best way possible, be positive and don’t give up.’
This weekend has arrived just as both Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp had predicted for ages.
City and Liverpool go to the final day, the bitter end of an almighty slog. Four dropped points between them since that 2-2 draw in Manchester last month. Two defeats between them since early November.
Liverpool need a favour from a team in the bottom half, just as Manchester United required in 2012.
QPR’s manager, Mark Hughes, had scores to settle with City then. Steven Gerrard, Aston Villa’s manager, has scores he would relish settling for Liverpool, who could be completing the greatest season of all time next weekend.
‘We have the best opponent in world football, which is a bit of a shame,’ Klopp said.
‘Imagine somebody tells you before the season you’re going to be in all three cup finals and want to fight for the league. You would say, “Yeah, good luck with that”.
‘It’s actually not possible but the boys did it — fed by the people here in the building, by our supporters. It’s a fantastic time to be a Liverpool supporter.’
While Liverpool have announced a parade for May 29 come what may, Guardiola is looking for a fourth title in five seasons, a feat only ever achieved by Sir Alex Ferguson and Bob Paisley. Ferguson’s best run was five in six.
Fierce rivals Liverpool have announced a parade for May 29 come what may on the final day
So when Guardiola talks about no great change in approach year-on-year, he is revealing a formula that does not need huge adjustments — even if they were to slip up.
‘The day after we’ll be happy if we have won — but my advice is to try to just be happy playing football, this is more important than winning titles,’ he said.
‘You feel alone after two or three days. That’s all? All the effort for that? Having it on your CV is good but no more than that.
‘It’s magnificent and then you defend being a champion over a year. Someone has to take us out.’
Liverpool wait to see if Gerrard’s crosshair remains steady.
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