A bullish Pep Guardiola shrugged off Manchester City’s winless run and claimed, if his side maintain their recent performance levels, they will win the Premier League once again this season.
City have recorded three successive draws to slip to third in the table but Guardiola believes their displays give him confidence that a record-breaking fourth title on the trot will be heading to the Etihad in May.
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Speaking ahead of tomorrow night’s tricky trip to Aston Villa, the Catalan said: “My feeling today is we are going to win the Premier League.
“If we are play at the level we showed against Liverpool and Tottenham, we are going to win it again.
“People don’t believe it after three draws, [but] we are going to do it again knowing that it’s not easy. No team has done it yet [win four straight], that’s why the difficulty is there. If you ask me today what I am feeling, we are going to do it again.”
City’s normally watertight defence has conceded 10 goals in the last four games in all competitions and Guardiola admitted that, while he was concerned, he wasn’t going overboard.
He added: “Except the Chelsea game [a 4-4 draw], when we conceded more chances, the rest of the games have been quite similar to when we won the treble.
“[But] We have to get better. If you concede three, four goals a game it’s tough to sustain it for a long time. We have to improve but at the same time we haven’t been conceding lots more chances and hopefully we can continue with that.
“Of course, I’m concerned but I am saying the average is lower in chances conceded.”
PEP 💬 He [John Stones] was ready for the last game, he’s ready now [too]. pic.twitter.com/bJN8HFUNtu
— Manchester City (@ManCity) December 5, 2023
City were charged yesterday by the FA for failing to control their players after several confronted referee Simon Hooper in stoppage time of the Spurs game.
Their ire was prompted by Hooper blowing for a City free-kick when Erling Haaland had played Jack Grealish through on goal.
Haaland led the protests and also posted a social media clip of the incident with an added ‘WTF’, although he escaped an individual sanction.
Guardiola was quick to defend his team, stating: “We have behaved incredibly over the years, especially this season.
“After the game, the comments from my players were accepting that we can do better, and me first of all. It’s what I want to see from my players and my club.
“We will accept the decision from the Premier League.”
Jack Grealish and Rodri will both be absent tomorrow through suspension having been booked at the weekend with Guardiola naming Kalvin Phillips, Manuel Akanji, John Stones and Nathan Ake as potential replacements for the Spaniard in midfield.
It adds another layer of difficulty to a game against a Villa side that have won their last 13 Premier League home matches.
Guardiola said: “The form they have had this season, especially at home…at home they have won everything, it’s a tough, tough game.”
Guardiola is also a big admirer of Villa boss Unai Emery.
“His teams, when he leaves they are better. In all departments, the results, the players, the set-pieces, the transition, the high press, it’s exceptional,” he said.
“Wherever Emery goes…he gets better every month, and every season is better than the year before. He’s an excellent manager.”