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Pep Guardiola adds to the hype around Liverpool's date at Old Trafford as Man City go top of the Premier League

 

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola gestures. Photo: Carl Recine/Action Images via Reuters

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola gestures. Photo: Carl Recine/Action Images via Reuters

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola gestures. Photo: Carl Recine/Action Images via Reuters

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola gave a clear hint that he is expecting Manchester United to give his side's title hopes a huge boost when they welcome Liverpool to Old Trafford later this month.

Guardiola's City returned to the top of the Premier League after a 2-0 win against Everton, as Aymeric Laporte and Gabriel Jesus scored for the defending Premier League champions at Goodison Park.

Yet it was his persistent references to Liverpool's clash with in-form Manchester United on February 24th that will lead to suggestions that the City boss in indulging in some mind games as the title race enters a critical phase.

"We are top of the table, but we have to wait for Liverpool to go to Old Trafford and if they win we are not top," he stated, as he referenced the United v Liverpool game in a succession of post match interviews.

"I think we are going to drop points - hopefully as few as possible - and the opponents are going to drop points. I don't think anyone is going to win 12 games in a row.

"One month ago we could have been ten points behind with the game against Liverpool and seven days ago we could have been seven points behind. Now we are top of the league.

"What is the lesson? Never give up. That is the best advice for all athletes. Everything is in your hands, try to win your games because life changes immediately.

"I don't know how far we will get, maybe we will die in the road, but we are trying. We have played one more game than Liverpool, it's good to be top. I don't think too much about that but four or five days ago we could have been seven points behind, it is a lesson to never give up."

Guardiola quickly turned his thoughts to Sunday's Premier League clash against Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium, as he was relieved to leave Merseyside with all three points.

"Goodison Park, 0-2, we have to be happy," he added. "We had problems in the second half but it was a good game. In terms of consistency, we didn't concede one shot on target. To score in the last minute of the first half helped us a lot.

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"We are not the tallest team in the world so we don't expect to score from set-pieces, but Mikel Arteta works a lot on them. Many decisions could be better, but that is my job to analyse those.

"Gabriel Jesus has scored nine goals in a short time and Sergio got three at the weekend, it is important to have two good strikers. I am so satisfied, we have a game every three days for three months. We have an incredible test on Sunday against Chelsea, it is non-stop."

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Manchester City's Nicolas Otamendi and Fernandinho celebrate. Photo: Phil Noble/Reuters

Manchester City's Nicolas Otamendi and Fernandinho celebrate. Photo: Phil Noble/Reuters

Manchester City's Nicolas Otamendi and Fernandinho celebrate. Photo: Phil Noble/Reuters

 

Everton manager Marco Silva drew comfort from his side's improved performance, after his future as Toffees boss was called into question after last Saturday's comprehensive home defeat against Wolves.

"It is strange when you lose and play like that," said Silva. "The times we conceded were tough for us. My feeling is that they didn't deserve that, but we have to be positive. I am not happy that we lost but I take many positives.

"Together, like I saw tonight, for sure we will be stronger. We always tried to score, the game was open until the end, we had a strong attitude.

"We had to forget straight away the way we played against Wolves and we did. We are talking about set-pieces every time, it is more mental than something more."

Liverpool will get the chance to reclaim the Premier League's top spot when they take on Bournemouth at Anfield on Saturday.


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