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Guardiola: ‘Premier League is harder to win than the Champions League’

Sunday April 15, 2018
By Jacob Steinberg

Manchester City manager says title would atone for European exit

Pep Guardiola: ‘You cannot imagine. The league is every three days for our side and everybody else. It is the most difficult thing’. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA

Pep Guardiola insisted that the Premier League is harder to win than the Champions League after Manchester City took a significant step towards claiming the title with an impressive 3-1 victory over Tottenham at Wembley.

City need three points from their final five games and they can wrap it up when Swansea City visit the Etihad Stadium next Sunday, although the race will be over if Manchester United lose at home to West Brom on Sunday or at Bournemouth on Wednesday, and Guardiola argued the achievement would more than make up for the Champions League quarter-final exit against Liverpool.

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“You cannot imagine,” City’s manager said. “It is every three days for our side and everybody else. It is the most difficult thing. The Champions League is seven games and, one bad game, you are out. In the league every game you have to stay there. It would be one of the best three seasons I have ever had as a player and as a manager. The amount of goals, chances and points, to do that in the Premier League, with the contenders we have, is because the players are so good.

“It was a good test, especially after what happened last week. The performance was outstanding. We have 87 points and there are five games left. It is because we have been outstanding. People say it was a big failure last week. The league is everything. The team was so good for nine months. It was not realistic in the beginning, what they have done. They deserve all my respect.”

Guardiola, who won La Liga with Barcelona and the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich, as well as two Champions Leagues with Barça, pointed to the Premier League’s physicality and agreed that he had answered critics who said his methods would not work in England.

Tottenham could not recover from a poor start. “We missed the first 20 or 25 minutes,” Mauricio Pochettino said. “Against a team like City, it was so easy for them. We started the second half really well but City were better. We congratulate them because they are close to winning the Premier League.

“The way we conceded the goals, I am disappointed. But we are doing so well. We are in the top four and we have the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United on Saturday.”

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