PEP GUARDIOLA has accused critics of being too quick to write off Manchester City’s Premier League title challenge and urged his players to ignore the hype as they look to successfully defend their crown.
City’s defeat at Newcastle last week gave Liverpool the chance to open a seven-point gap with victory over Leicester 24 hours later.
Instead, Jurgen Klopp’s men drew and then dropped two more points at West Ham on Monday night, meaning City — who beat Arsenal on Sunday — can go top with three points at Everton tonight.
‘Three or four days ago we were already done — the champions were Liverpool. And now we are favourites!’ Guardiola (pictured) said yesterday. ‘Maybe in three days we will be leading, or we could be six points behind.’
The key, he said, is not getting too carried away with the highs and the lows.
‘We try to be calm in this situation. There will be a lot of surprises and it will be tough for teams to win games,’ added Guardiola. ‘All the teams [in the league] have the abilities and skills to create problems.
‘What I’m more concerned about is to never forget who we are as a team. When doing what we have to do we are a strong team.
‘That’s what I want to watch every single day. After we will see about the results, how the table is.’
The title race has increasingly been seen as a showdown between Guardiola’s City and Klopp’s Liverpool team, but the Spaniard believes Tottenham — who are two points behind City — Chelsea, and even a resurgent Manchester United also have a chance.
‘There are 39 points to play [for] and it is not too much if you are nine or ten behind,’ said the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss.
‘I never said Tottenham are not there. United making this run every single week and they will be there.
‘Now we see the table and see the first two or three and we don’t look further than that. Chelsea can win games in a row and be a contender.’