Thursday 13 December 2018

Pep Guardiola: Next season will be even tougher for Manchester City

Guardiola issued the warning following the goalless draw at home to Huddersfield.

Manchester City celebrated with the Premier League trophy on Sunday
Manchester City celebrated with the Premier League trophy on Sunday

By Andy Hampson and Liam Blackburn, Press Association Sport

Pep Guardiola warned things will now get tougher as Manchester City got their hands on the Premier League trophy at a jubilant Etihad Stadium.

City were in party mood as they celebrated the title they secured last month by finally lifting the silverware following Sunday’s clash with Huddersfield.

The game itself, however, proved far from straightforward with the relegation-threatened Terriers digging in for a potentially vital 0-0 draw – and Guardiola warned that could be a taste of things to some.

The City boss said: “The game showed me how difficult everything is. It looks easy when you’ve won a lot of games – (but) it’s so tough, and next season will be tougher because the opponents want to beat you.

“Maybe we will be a little bit relaxed – and you have to be focused if you want to maintain what we have done this season. Help us to understand, this game for example, how difficult it will be next season. Sport is like this, it’s so complicated.”

Since winning the title, City have thrashed Swansea 5-0 and West Ham 4-1 but they were unable to maintain that intensity against David Wagner’s battling side.

The result was hugely unexpected and City will now have to wait until Wednesday’s clash against Brighton at least to set new Premier League records for most wins, goals and points in a season.

Guardiola said: “Here we had time to accept the reality. We won two, three weeks ago. We were surprised how good we maintained our focus. Today for many a reason, we were not able. We have to try to make the last effort.”

While the remainder of City’s season is merely about adding gloss to an already outstanding campaign – and victories in their final two games would take them to 100 points – for Huddersfield the result was of potentially huge significance.

With a run-in that also includes games against Chelsea and Arsenal, the Yorkshire side had been looking over their shoulders just two points above the relegation zone. The surprise extra point gives them a little more breathing space.

Manager Wagner said: “This looked impossible before kick-off, but the players have done it and made the impossible possible.

“It wasn’t a stolen point, it was a deserved point. I’m proud, over the moon, for the dressing room, the players, backroom staff and all the supporters that we were able to collect this point at this very crucial time of the season.”

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