Thursday 22 August 2019

'Liverpool play without pressure' - Pep Guardiola appears to have a curious swipe at title rivals after latest win

Manchester City's Spanish manager Pep Guardiola toasts a win against Leicester that edges his side to within touching distance of the Premier League title
Manchester City's Spanish manager Pep Guardiola toasts a win against Leicester that edges his side to within touching distance of the Premier League title
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has claimed his team have not been given positive media coverage this season when compared to their Premier League title rivals Liverpool.

City will wrap up a second successive title triumph if they beat Brighton in the final game of the season on Sunday, leaving Liverpool frustrated after a thrilling duel that has seen both sides piece together a flawless run of victories in the final two months of the season.

Yet Guardiola's claims that his side have been cast as underdogs may well raise a few eyebrows, after he has played a part in one of the most lavishly expensive sporting projects in football history that has City benefit from investment of £1.3billion Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the Abu Dhabi ruling family took control of the club in 2008.

After a 1-0 win against Leicester on Monday night, Guardiola was in bullish mood as he claimed his side had overcome media negativity to claim top spot heading into the final weekend of the campaign.

When asked to express how he felt to be heading into the final game with his side in pole position to win the title, he responded: "For many people, the media, they expected Liverpool do that….in the end we are there so I am sorry for the people that are still it is in our hands, we are going to try it.

"Liverpool play without pressure because they know it is not in their hands. It is easy. We have the pressure.

"One game left it will be so tough like today, we are away and we saw Brighton had a good game at Arsenal. But it is in our hands, don’t forget but we could have been 10 points behind if we lost to Liverpool here.

"We were seven points behind, but we are in the last game and it is in our hands. We are going to prepare well.

"We'll see if Brighton defend deep or will be more offensive. It will be tough, but hopefully we will have the performance to be champions."

Guardiola went on to salute his captain Vincent Kompany after a fine winning goal against Leicester, as he insisted his side were worthy winners on a night when the nerves were rippling around the Etihad Stadium.

"Kompany has been here more than 10 years and he has helped with an incredible generation of players like Joe Hart and Pablo Zabaleta, create with other players like Hart and Zabaleta, they create this club," said the City manager.

"When he steps forward in the big moments when he is fit is an incredible player. An extraordinary goal, definitely. We played incredibly, I expected Leicester to be more offensive than in their last games, but they defend so deep. It was a more than decent first half but an outstanding second half knowing what we were playing for. I am sorry for many people, but still we are there."

Guardiola then looked ahead of his side's final game of the season at Brighton, as he warned his side their title push needs one final shove.

"One game left it will be so tough like today," he added. "We are away and we saw Brighton had a good game at Arsenal, but it is in our hands, don’t forget but we could have been 10 points behind if we lost to Liverpool here.

"We were seven points behind, but we are in the last game and it is in our hands. We are going to prepare well. We’ll see if Brighton defend deep or will be more offensive. It will be tough, but hopefully we will have the performance to be champions."

Online Editors

The Left Wing: The 'hell' of World Cup training camp, Ireland's half-back dilemma and All Blacks uncertainty

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport