Saturday, June 3, 2023

Guardiola remains calm after City thrash Arsenal: ´Next three games will dictate title race´

SoccerNews in English Premier League 26 Apr 2023


Pep Guardiola was adamant that the next three games will dictate the title race after Manchester City’s commanding 4-1 home victory against Arsenal saw them take charge of the Premier League.

City remain in second place and two points behind Arsenal but, with two games in hand over their London rivals, have wrestled the momentum into their own hands with just seven games to go.

A brace from Kevin De Bruyne alongside goals from John Stones and Erling Haaland cemented a dominant home display from Guardiola’s side, but the City manager was quick to turn the attention to the crucial fixtures ahead as City look to take advantage of their games in hand over their London rivals.

“I know the next three games are really important,” he said speaking to BT Sport.

“Fulham on Sunday, what Marco Silva has done this season is incredible, and then after the two games at home against West Ham and Leeds, these games will dictate the season.

“The reality today is we are behind Arsenal, they are two points in front of us.”

Guardiola went on to laud the dominant manner of his side’s victory who have now won 12 consecutive league games against Arsenal.

“From the first minute we were incredibly focused,” Guardiola said.

“The guys responded unbelievably in an important game – not decisive, but really important.

“We are back-to-back Premier League winners so in September, October, when you lose a game you say you have time, but Arsenal were not like that. When we arrive in the last two months, the players know it’s close and if we lose, we have no chance.

“As a player, playing with that mentality that there is no other option but to win, that is the best way to approach the games. In the last two months, the players showed that every game we try to win and move forward.”

Stones’, whose header provided City’s crucial second goal on the stroke of half-time, suggested that the experience of City’s squad was a key factor in the crucial victory.

He said: “We’ve been through tough moments and situations at this stage of the season in the past, and it’s done us so well – we know how to cope and what to do in different scenarios.

“Everyone’s been there and everyone has that hunger. Day’s like today there is a lot of pressure from the outside, but we know our jobs and what is asked of us on the pitch and that experience helps in those big pressure moments.”

Guardiola will now look to guide his side to their fifth league title in six years and heralded the support from the club’s board as well as the quality of his players for his remarkable success at the Manchester club.

“This club gave me everything, from the hierarchy,” he said.

“I remember the first season when we didn’t win, they supported me unconditionally. We were lucky as a team with how the way Liverpool pushed us in the previous seasons and this season, Arsenal – they got 50 points in the first half of the season. We want to win, why should we stop, it’s not necessary.

“I’ve been at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City. The incredible qualities of the players I have had at my disposal – it’s work ethic, the rest is quality.”


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