Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola believes his side have raised the bar in the Premier League after edging one point back ahead of Liverpool in a titanic title race with a 2-0 win at Manchester United on Wednesday.
Bernardo Silva and Leroy Sane struck for the visitors in 12 second-half minutes at Old Trafford to inflict a seventh defeat in nine games on United, who remain three points adrift of the top four.
City cannot match their record 100 points tally in romping to the title last season, but victories over Burnley, Leicester and Brighton will clinch the title on 98 points and ensure Liverpool’s 29-year wait to win the league continues despite already posting a club record points tally in the Premier League era.
“We increased the level for the Premier League last season with 100 points. That’s the level Liverpool are chasing. What they have done is incredible but it’s in our hands,” said Guardiola.
“Both teams deserve the title. But it can be just one. The team that is going to lose can’t have regrets because they have given everything.”
City’s trip to Old Trafford was billed as the last big hurdle left for Guardiola’s men to clear despite United’s terrible run of form.
However, Guardiola warned of the tight turnaround before a very different type of test at Burnley on Sunday.
“Normally with this kind of victory you can it enjoy it the most but we have to be calm,” added Guardiola.
“Now we go to Burnley and we know how tough it will be. It’s important to be calm. We are still not champions with three games left — it’s incredible with the points we have and Liverpool have.
“I told the players don’t read tomorrow, don’t watch the television, just rest and sleep a lot.”
– City the standard bearers –
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer slammed his players’ attitude after a 4-0 thrashing at Everton on Sunday and was rewarded with a far more energetic and committed performance, even if City’s greater quality eventually shone through.
“They’ve set the standard in the last couple of seasons. They have been the best team in the country and that’s the standard we want to get to,” admitted Solskjaer.
Yet, Arsenal’s defeat at Wolves means the Red Devils are still very much in the race for Champions League qualification, should they beat fourth-placed Chelsea at home on Sunday.