Guardiola: breaking City records in run to title ‘impossible’

‘Liverpool are contenders to win the title, we are one. Always they are a contender’

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola: the family is happy living in Manchester, my experiences of the Premier League are good. Photograph: Justin Lane/EPA

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola: the family is happy living in Manchester, my experiences of the Premier League are good. Photograph: Justin Lane/EPA

 

Pep Guardiola has said Manchester City raised the level of the Premier League last season and it will be impossible to break the records his team set in their title-winning campaign.

City face Liverpool in the International Champions Cup in New Jersey in the early hours of Thursday morning with Guardiola expecting Jürgen Klopp’s team to deliver a sustained challenge for next season’s title. No team has won back-to-back Premier League championships since Manchester United in 2008 and 2009. While that is the aim for the City manager next season, along with improvement in the Champions League, he does not expect a repeat of the last campaign when his team set a league record of 100 points, enjoyed the biggest title-winning margin, scored the most goals, had the most wins, the most away wins and produced the best goal difference.

“We are not going to break any more records in the Premier League,” said Guardiola. “It is impossible, almost impossible. My target now is to see the faces of my players in the next two weeks when they are together because we are here without 15 players. When we come back we have four or five days to prepare for [the Community Shield] against Chelsea and we are going to see their faces.

The records we took last season was a consequence of what we’ve done every single day

“The target is win the next game and how to prepare to win the game, that is the target. The records we took last season was a consequence of what we’ve done every single day. That is the point. If we are going to compare November, December, January, always comparing the position, we are going to lose all the comparisons with what we have done last season.”

Liverpool have spent more than £170 million (€190 million) on new players this summer in an attempt to bridge last season’s 25-point gap to the Premier League champions. Guardiola insisted he had no issue with Liverpool’s spending, despite past comments from Klopp on other clubs’ expenditure, but believes all title contenders have to raise their game as a result of his side’s stunning title success last season.

The City manager added: “Liverpool are contenders to win the title, we are one. Always they are a contender. They will be in the future with their history. On the pitch dictates the rules so we’ll see on the pitch.

“I’m not concerned about what one of us said one day, the circumstances change. When Liverpool spend this money it is because they believe it is best for them. I don’t like it when colleagues speak about me or my plans. If they believe it’s the best for them, it’s perfect for them. Last season we increased the levels of the Premier League – 100 points: the level is here, now we try to take the level, and every team tries to do better and better.

“All the contenders – United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham – will be stronger. Other teams too. Everton took a good manager [in Marco Silva], West Ham with Manuel [Pellegrini].

Nobody knows what will happen this season, nobody

“Always the expectation is high, we want to do really well and continue what we started two seasons ago. We are going to see. Nobody knows what will happen this season, nobody.”

Guardiola, who denied having an interest in the Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic, also insisted it will be results that dictate whether he fulfils the three-year contract he signed with City earlier this summer.

“When we decided to extend the contract,” he said. “First of all it is because I am comfortable and second is the club trust what we are doing. We have three more years’ contract, but the results will dictate what will happen in the future. The most important thing is to arrive in April and May and be there for the title.

“Football trainers are always in a dangerous position. But the family is happy living in Manchester, my experiences of the Premier League are good. I have a young team and I am comfortable working with them. But in football, when you feel tired or the players don’t follow you, even if I have the contact, I will speak with the people about it and find a solution. But I’ll do my best to stay this time together.”

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