If you want to be real contenders you have to win again- Pep Guardiola
Written by: Neil Talnikar
The former Bayern Munich and Barcelona manager warned his players to focus on the Saints’ game rather than thinking of chasing Liverpool.
Liverpool have undeniably played wonderful football this season and being six points clear at the top during Christmas time explains it all. The Reds are yet to face a single defeat in the Premier League and it certainly hints that they might finally end their 28-year long title drought in May 2019.
However, Jurgen Klopp’s men do face stiff competition from early pace-setters Manchester City as well as a resurgent Tottenham. A few weeks earlier, City were enjoying their top spot in the table but surprisingly lost three of their next four games as December rolled out and eventually dropped down to third place behind Spurs. Although that provided a huge boost for the Merseysiders, the fate of the trophy will most probably be decided when the two sides lock horns on 3rd January at the Etihad Stadium.
Two weeks ahead of the huge encounter, City boss Pep Guardiola issued a warning to the Reds’ boss regarding the title race. The 47-year-old is currently facing a lo oft stick since his side’s downfall and admitted that it is hard to deal with that amount of pressure. As a consequence, the Spanish tactician began playing his mind games saying, “From January, February last season people said, ‘The Premier League is over’. To live with that is not easy. One month ago people talked about (the match against) Liverpool and before (then) we had three or four games.”
Moreover, he went on to defend his team despite the disappointing results saying, “Football is that you are able to win a lot of games and you are able to lose a lot of games. When I was at Barcelona for one period I lost four games in a row.”
Although the Citizens have slumped to two consecutive defeats against Crystal Palace and Leicester City respectively, it’s definitely not over for them yet. Being just one point below Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs and seven points below the Reds, the Citizens have plenty of time yet to get back into the game.
However, considering Liverpool’s form this season, Guardiola’s men will need to get back to winning ways sooner rather than later before. Keeping that in mind, the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager asked his players to focus more on the upcoming game against Southampton than think about chasing the league leaders.“The less important issue is Liverpool, we have to think about Southampton. I don’t forget who we are, how good a team we are, how exceptional these lads I have in the locker room are.”
“The reality is we have lost three in four games and the last two. If you want to be real contenders you have to win again. If you don’t, it will not be possible,” he added.
On the other hand, Liverpool head towards a tough week as they host fifth placed Arsenal on Saturday and will immediately travel to Manchester for the so-called ‘title decider’ game.
Published: Fri Dec 28, 2018 04:00 PM IST