Manchester City need to go full gas for Premier League run-in – Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola vowed to hit the accelerator as Manchester City moved within two wins of retaining the Premier League title with a hard-fought victory at Burnley.
Sergio Aguero scrambled the only goal of a tense clash at Turf Moor on Sunday to lift the champions back above Liverpool to the top of the table.
City are clear favourites and have their destiny in their hands but, with Liverpool just a point behind, Guardiola knows there is still little room for error in their remaining games against Leicester and Brighton.
The City boss said: “We don’t have a game until next Monday, so now we have time for recovery, to rest and enjoy – unfortunately – the semi-finals of the Champions League (on TV).
“Then we go to the Leicester game, full gas with our fans, try to win and then go to the last one to try to win, to get the points we need to get back-to-back (titles).
“Let’s keep going. Just two games. It’s tough for Liverpool and it’s tough for us, with 92 points and (we’re) still not champions. They push us, we push them.”
Whatever the outcome of the race, Guardiola is convinced his side’s place in history is secure.
He said: “We have 192 points over two seasons. Maybe one team in history will make 100 points in a season but then to make 92, 95 or 98 the next year, I bet that is not going to happen often.”
City knew that anything less than victory over the Clarets would hand the initiative to Liverpool and the fine margins between success and failure were evident in the awarding of Aguero’s goal by goal-line technology.
The Argentinian’s scrappy 63rd-minute effort amid a goalmouth scramble was found to have crossed the line by a mere 29.5mm before Burnley defender Matt Lowton hoofed the ball clear.
There was a brief delay before referee Paul Tierney awarded the goal.
The goal rewarded City for a sustained spell of pressure but Burnley had made the game uncomfortable for them at times and they continued to do so until the end.
City endured some nervy moments in defence in the latter stages and finished with four centre-halves on the field, with Guardiola joking that he was “trembling”.
KING KUN 👑 pic.twitter.com/O2JaQlczq8— Manchester City (@ManCity) April 28, 2019
But overall City created the best chances and Guardiola had no doubt victory was earned.
“We deserved to win, we created a lot of chances,” he said. “The result, 1-0, is ‘short’. Our performance, I’m so delighted for the way we controlled them.
“It is not easy against them because they are so solid, they defend (with) 10 players in the box, but we did it.”
Aguero’s goal saw him become only the second player after Thierry Henry to score at least 20 Premier League goals in five consecutive seasons.
20 – Sergio Agüero is only the second player in @premierleague history to score 20+ goals in five consecutive campaigns, after Thierry Henry between 2001-02 and 2005-06. Legends. #BURMCIpic.twitter.com/5o0MSDtcgL— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 28, 2019
“He is a legend,” Guardiola said. “He does that all the time, important goals.”
Results elsewhere meant Burnley knew before the weekend they were already safe from relegation.
Manager Sean Dyche said: “People say it has been a poor season. It has been a fantastic season for us.
“This is Burnley. It’s not a walk in the park. Every season…finance, structure, trying to keep our players… every year is tough.”
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