City’s battle to be No 1 like “Nadal, Federer and Djokovic”, says Guardiola
Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City need the pressure from their title rivals in order to help their own bid to be champions.
Liverpool’s 3-0 win over Watford on Saturday kept them to within just two points of leaders City, despite Guardiola’s side making it 13 games unbeaten with an emphatic four-goal victory against West Ham.
The trip to the London Stadium was a reminder of the charge Real Madrid gave when Manuel Pellegrini led them to a total of 96 points in La Liga in 2009-10, only for Guardiola’s Barcelona to beat them to the crown with 99.
“To maintain that level… we did 99 points with someone else pushing us,” he said. “We knew that if we dropped points Madrid were going to win the title.”
City were already eight points clear of second-placed Manchester United at this stage last season, but Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal are all within the same margin this time around.
Guardiola believes he now faces the same fight to stay number one in the Premier League.
“It’s similar with (Rafa) Nadal, (Roger) Federer and (Novak) Djokovic, no? They push one to be better than the other one because they know,” he said.
The players know that we can’t drop points because if we do Liverpool are going to win the league.
“We need it in sport, as athletes. They (the City players) know. I didn’t tell them, but they know how strong Liverpool are.
“They know that we can’t drop points because if we do Liverpool are going to win the league. I can say Liverpool or Chelsea and Tottenham are the same in this moment. Arsenal as well.
“To compete we need good opponents close and this season we have it, here and in Europe.”
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