Fine margins between Man City and Liverpool give Guardiola food for thought

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Pep Guardiola. Photo: Getty Images
Pep Guardiola. Photo: Getty Images

SPORT


Pep Guardiola said the fine margins that have decided the Premier League title race in recent years mean it is crucial that Manchester City hit the ground running when their campaign begins on Sunday.

City beat Liverpool to the title by a point last season, and in the 2018/19 campaign.

The club’s manager said any slip-up could result in a team being out of the race by November when the league goes on break for the World Cup.

“I have the feeling every time we start the press conference that this season is harder,” Guardiola told reporters on Friday ahead of their season-opener at West Ham United.

“I think next season cannot be harder, but it is. Every club is getting better. The managers are so exciting and that is why the Premier League is the best.

[This year], there are two seasons, one before the World Cup, you can’t win it before but you can lose it ... We won two Premier Leagues by one point, we know we can win 12-14 games in a row. Liverpool as well. You have to start well.


Bernardo Silva has been linked with a move away from City and though Guardiola said he wants the Portuguese midfielder to remain at the club, he will not force any player to stay.

READ: Pep's perfect 10 the tonic for Man City's Euro woe

“I would love for Bernardo to continue here, he’s a very special player in the locker room,” he added.

“What happens will happen. If he stays, it is perfect, if he has to leave it’s because football is like this.”

City are looking to sign a left-back following the departure of Oleksandr Zinchenko to Arsenal and while reported target Marc Cucurella looks set to sign for Chelsea, Guardiola said he has cover for the position until the end of the transfer window.

“João Cancelo is there. Nathan Aké can play there. We will see. We still have time until the end of the month.”

Aymeric Laporte, the 28-year-old defender, missed the trip to West Ham after he had surgery for a knee injury. - Reuters

Premier League fixtures this weekend


Friday

Crystal Palace vs Arsenal, 9pm

Saturday

Fulham vs Liverpool, 1.30pm

Newcastle vs Nottingham Forest, 4pm

Leeds United vs Wolverhampton Wanderers

Tottenham Hotspur vs Southampton, 4pm

Bournemouth vs Aston Villa, 4pm

Everton vs Chelsea, 6.30pm

Sunday

Leicester City vs Brentford, 3pm

Manchester United vs Brighton, 3pm

West Ham vs Manchester City, 5.30pm.




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