Man City ‘much better’ than last year, says Guardiola

LONDON (AFP) – Pep Guardiola said Manchester City are playing “much better” than during last year’s record-breaking campaign and his players should not be regarded as losers even if Liverpool pip them to the Premier League title.

City are favourites to retain their crown after last Saturday’s 1-0 win at Bournemouth and the goalless Merseyside derby left them a point ahead of Jurgen Klopp’s Reds with nine matches remaining.

“In the way we play, we play much, much better (than last season),” Guardiola said.

“Everybody knows exactly what we have to do, everybody helps each other. And when this happens, we can compete and if we lose, we lose, but no regrets.

“I know in our society just the first one has the credit and the second one is an absolute loser. But it is impossible to feel that about my players, it’s impossible.”

City smashed a host of records on the way to becoming champions in 2017/18, including amassing 100 points and scoring 106 goals.

Despite failing to replicate that level of dominance this term, they have overturned a seven-point deficit in recent months to wrestle top spot from Liverpool.

Victory at Bournemouth was their fifth in a row in the league.

Guardiola admitted his team could easily have fallen out of title contention and feels their current position is even more remarkable because a League Cup success and progress to the FA Cup quarter-finals has resulted in a far busier fixture schedule than Liverpool.

“Of course we want to win the Premier League, I feel the players show me every single day they want to win it,” he said.

Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola. – AP