Pep Guardiola: Manchester United and Newcastle are both in Premier League title race!
- Does not think Premier League is a two-horse race
- Belives final 10 games will decide the winner
- Vows to defend the title until the last matchday
WHAT HAPPENED? The top two teams Arsenal and Manchester City will lock horns in a highly anticipated Premier League clash on Wednesday night. A win for Guardiola's men will see them snatch top spot from Arsenal courtesy of a superior goal difference, albeit having played a game more. However, the City manager does not believe that the final result in north London will be decisive as he insists there is still a four-way race for the title at this stage. Manchester United are only two points behind City, with Newcastle five points further back, and Guardiola is refusing to write off either side.
WHAT THEY SAID: When asked if he considers United and Newcastle as serious title contenders, Guardiola told a press conference: "Yeah, they are there. There are a lot of points to play for. We don’t know what can happen in the next weeks. I always have the feeling, especially now with European competitions back and FA Cup around the corner, the last eight to 10 games are going to decide the title. We have to try to be there in that moment and then have to make the last effort to try to achieve it.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: City are the defending champions and Guardiola believes that the title is still "in our hands". He has vowed his players will "fight to the maximum" until the last matchday to keep the trophy at the Etihad Stadium. "The biggest motivation is that I don’t want to drop the Premier League just because we are not who we are. If they beat us because they are better than (us)," Guardiola added. "This is sport. I’ll be the first to congratulate them, as I’ve always done. But not because we are not there. You want it? OK, fight. Take it. It’s in our hands. We’ll defend this title until the last day. This is what I’d like, to fight to the maximum to try to retain the title. If we don’t, accept it. But we need to give our best. My players have to feel that every day.”
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WHAT NEXT? Manchester City travel to London to take on league leaders Arsenal on Wednesday, before turning their attention to an away clash with Nottingham Forest on February 18.