Pep Guardiola expects the title race to go right down to the wire
Written by: Anjishnu Roy
The Cityzens travel to Everton to play the last game of 25th Premier League game week.
Liverpool dropped points against West Ham United this weekend making the title race at the top of the Premier League even more interesting and exciting. Liverpool lead the table with 62 points, City and Tottenham Hotspur are close behind on 59 and 57 points respectively having played 25 games each. Manchester City could go ahead in the race tomorrow on the basis of goal difference as they square up against Everton, Liverpool’s city rivals at the Goodison Park.
Ahead of the game, City coach Pep Guardiola took to the press to highlight the cut-throat competitive nature of this year’s title race. Guardiola is under the impression that the title race will go right down to the very end and that goal difference might just prove crucial in determining who wins this year’s Premier League crown.
Guardiola has highlighted to his squad the importance of scoring as many goals as possible and maintain clean sheets in order to maintain their bets goal difference record in the Premier League. “The first message is to win the game and the second is if you can score, score, and if you can avoid conceding, do it, because maybe, you can win the Premier League on goal difference.”
“While we are not going to say to the guys today we have to win 25-0 – I never say that – first you have to win the game and then second try to score, because it can happen [winning the title on the basis of goal difference].”
“I’m pretty sure the winner will be decided by the last game or the last two, I’m sure of that.”
Pep Guardiola then went on to comment on the brutal nature of the month of February in England with so many important and decisive games absolutely congested in a tight calendar. City’s clash with Everton was moved up ahead to accommodate the Carabao Cup final where Guardiola’s City will face Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea later this month.
"When I was abroad before I came here, everyone talked about December and Boxing Day, these kind of things," he said. "After Boxing Day was finished I looked at the schedule and said 'this is worse!' and that's true. If you are out of some competitions it is more comfortable but [if not] February is tougher."
"At some point it is a problem, with all the games and the mental effort to be successful in all competitions, when you lose one game you can lose that competition.
"In the Champions League we know that – a bad 30 minutes and you are out. That demands a lot of stress and sometimes you need a little bit of a break.
"But at the same time, when you arrive in this month and in March, when the days are longer and you see the end of the season closer – the pitches are in better condition and you can take a coffee outside – and you are in four competitions you think, 'wow, we can do something special'. That is a plus. We are not right now in that position. This month is terrible. Every game is a final and you have to wait."
Manchester City suffered a bout of mental exhaustion and breakdown in the infamous resounding defeat to Liverpool in the Champions League last year and given the added depth this year, Guardiola would be wary of not letting something similar happen- neither in the Premier League nor in the Champions League.
Published: Wed Feb 06, 2019 03:32 PM IST