Wednesday 21 August 2019

No nerves for Man City boss Pep Guardiola ahead of Premier League finale

City must beat Brighton to ensure they retain their title.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola insists he is not feeling the nerves (Martin Rickett/PA)
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola insists he is not feeling the nerves (Martin Rickett/PA)

By Andy Hampson, Press Association Sport

Pep Guardiola claims he is not nervous ahead of Manchester City’s final-game title decider at Brighton.

City will win the Premier League with victory at the Amex Stadium on Sunday – but any slip-up could allow Liverpool, who trail by just a point, to pip them at the post by beating Wolves.

It makes for a potential nerve-jangling end to the season but Guardiola claims he is relishing the situation and is not as apprehensive as he was before the champions’ crunch clash with Liverpool in January.

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Pep Guardiola throws his scarf in anger during the home game against Liverpool (Martin Rickett/PA)

City prevailed on that occasion on what was a tense night at the Etihad Stadium, preventing the Merseysiders from opening up a 10-point lead at the summit.

Guardiola, the City manager, said: “I am so happy – no nerves at all. I was nervous before Liverpool, seven points behind, and we could have been 10 points behind.

“It was, ‘Ah, it will be so difficult’. But not now, no way. I sleep like a little boy. It is a dream, a privilege, I love it.”

City have won their last 13 games in what has been a remarkable title race in which they and Liverpool have matched each other almost blow for blow.

Guardiola’s men have needed to show all their champion qualities in their last four games – tight victories over Tottenham, Manchester United, Burnley and Leicester.

Dropping points in any of them would have seen the initiative switch to Liverpool, who have won eight in succession and are just a point behind heading into the final round of fixtures.

With such momentum behind them, Guardiola feels his team-talk should take care of itself.

He said: “I would say that I don’t have to say anything to motivate (the players). I think my speech will be zero.

“They want to win the Premier League. What I saw in the training sessions – they want to win it. We are going to go out there at Brighton at 3 o’clock to win the game.

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Vincent Kompany’s goal against Leicester has put Man City within one win of retaining the Premier League title (Nick Potts/PA)

“We have not spoken for two or three days about the Premier League (title) or back-to-back, or what happens if we lose, about celebrations if we win, zero.

“It is just about Brighton, how they defend, their strengths and weak points, what we have to do.

“And on Sunday, ‘Guys, go out and play’. That is all.”

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