Pep Guardiola believes Liverpool are the neutrals’ favourites for the Premier League title, but he knows it will not matter if Manchester City keep winning with the support of their fans.
City endured a difficult week in which their Champions League hopes were dashed for another season, yet they reached Sunday evening in pole position for their latest domestic triumph.
A 5-0 home win against Newcastle United moved City three points and, perhaps crucially, four goals ahead of Liverpool, who were held by Tottenham on Saturday.
However, in a remarkable post-match interview with beIN SPORTS – in which he also highlighted Liverpool’s lack of Premier League heritage – Guardiola suggested City’s potential title success would not be popular in England.
Asked about the change in the title race this weekend, the City manager quickly pointed out his side had already been in control.
“One week ago, we were one point in front,” he said. “But everybody in this country supports Liverpool, the media, everyone, because Liverpool has an incredible history in European competitions.
“Not in the Premier League, because they’ve won one in 30 years.
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“But it’s not a problem at all. The situation is what it is. We have to do nine points or maybe six right now – it depends on what is going to happen in the next two games in terms goal difference.
“Now, Wednesday [against Wolves] is the real, real, real final for us. We are going to try to go there to win. Our destiny is in our own hands, and that’s important. We have to look at ourselves. With one point or three points, nothing changed.”
Later in the same interview, Guardiola was asked to explain his comments.
“Liverpool alongside [Manchester] United are the most important teams in history in terms of legacy, titles, history, dramas, for many, many things,” he replied.
“But we are in the last 10, 11, 12 years always there. I know we are sometimes uncomfortable, but I don’t care. If the people want more [for] Liverpool to win than us, it’s not the issue. It’s normal.
“Maybe there are more supporters all around the world for sure and here in England that support Liverpool more than us, but this is not the question. The question is, today, before the start of the game, the people cheering and supporting us more than ever in one home game.
“They know that even being out of the Champions League, we can rely on these players. The support was amazing, and hopefully we can arrive at the last game here with the chance to be champions.”
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