Pep Guardiola used the emphatic end of Liverpool’s unbeaten home record to laugh off suggestions that Manchester City have killed off the title race. A 4-1 thumping of the champions at Anfield on Sunday was seen across the land as an effective ending of this season’s competition between the two sides that have dominated English football in recent years, with City now ten points ahead of rivals Liverpool and with a game in hand as well as a superior goal difference. Guardiola joked that his team should not have to play another Premier League game this season if everything has already been decided and stressed that his players need to continue to shut out any outside noise and focus on their next opponents.
Pep Guardiola said: “Two or three months ago we were out of everything: we didn’t have any chance to be champions, to qualify for the Champions League yet now we are ready.We are ready, so maybe we shouldn’t play any more games in the Premier League because we are already champions. I don’t understand why we have to play against Tottenham and after against Everton? I don’t understand it because we are already champions. Things change a lot. I understand why people are talking about it because now we are champions because we win games and when we were not winning games we were not champions, but the best way to avoid these not normal discussions is to think about the next one, try to beat them to continue our winning run knowing that we can lose tomorrow, and the day after we can lose, and the day after we can lose. Nothing is eternal, nothing is perfect. Just because we won in the past it doesn’t mean we are going to win in the future. We have to focus on the next game. Always in my career with my teams we have thought in this way and talked in this way and this is not an exception. It will be tough tomorrow and then incredibly tough against Tottenham. I know it right now so we prepare the best way for the team to make another victory.”
Guardiola has consistently refused to indulge in any talk this season that goes further than their next match, insisting that the second his players stop thinking about that they will lose the momentum that sees them 21 games unbeaten and on a 14-match winning streak in all competitions. Asked how easy it is to maintain such a focus when there are so many potential distractions, the City manager used the emphatic end to Liverpool’s exceptional home record to make his point.
Pep Guardiola said: “It’s not difficult because we know when we anticipate the future quite quickly, sports shows you in the past how it is going to punish you for that. This is a simple example of what I’ve seen. Liverpool remains one of the best teams I’ve seen in my life and were able to make an incredible run of 68 games at home unbeaten – destroying, winning by big margins, winning in the last minutes – for three seasons without one defeat. Then immediately, you don’t know why, three defeats in a row. Do you think it cannot happen with us? Of course it can happen. It can happen in one week and you can lose three or four games immediately after an unbeaten run. If that happens, we are thinking about something that is not going to happen or has been written because all the good words are just because we are winning games – we are the same team that we were.”
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