Pep Guardiola targets huge points haul to hold off Liverpool in title race

Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur – Premier League – Etihad Stadium
(Image credit: MIke Egerton)

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says his side will need a lot of points to become champions again after Tottenham blew the Premier League title race open.

Guardiola’s side seemed on an unstoppable march towards another title after a 15-game unbeaten run but an incredible 3-2 win by Antonio Conte’s men – inspired by two goals from City’s summer target Harry Kane – put Liverpool within striking distance.

Liverpool’s come-from-behind win against Norwich means that City’s lead at the top is down to six points, with the Reds holding a game in hand and the two sides still have to play each other.

Harry Kane's double boosted Liverpool's title hopes

Harry Kane’s double boosted Liverpool’s title hopes (MIke Egerton/PA)

Guardiola has always guarded against complacency and says only a big points total will see them defend the crown they won last season.

“In January or February nobody has won anything, especially in this Premier League, the teams at the bottom won because every team fights for everything,” he said.

“We know it will be difficult, we know it. That is why we have to win games and games. Today happened, we lost the game, we were close to drawing, maybe winning.

“We will recover this week with good training sessions and prepare for the next game.

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“We have to fight every game and every game we are going to win is going to be close. I said we need a lot of points to be champions. And this is what we need to do.”

Spurs went ahead early through Dejan Kulusevski but Ilkay Gundogan’s strike just after the half-hour got City level and looked like being the springboard towards another victory.

But Kane had other ideas, restoring Tottenham’s lead, seeing another scratched out by VAR and then heading in a dramatic added-time winner moments after Riyad Mahrez made it 2-2 with a penalty.

City had not lost since Crystal Palace won 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium in October, after which they won 14 of their next 15 league games.

Crystal Palace’s win at Manchester City kickstarted a run of 14 wins in 15 league games for Pep Guardiola's side

Crystal Palace’s win at Manchester City kickstarted a run of 14 wins in 15 league games for Pep Guardiola’s side (Martin Rickett/PA)

Gundogan says this latest defeat could be a wake-up call that City needed.

He said on the club’s official website: “We know there is still a long way to go and the season is still long.

“Maybe this is a good sign for us that nothing is given and we need to earn every single three points.

“We will try to recover and be ready for the next game.”

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