Premier League title race not over, Pep Guardiola tells Jose Mourinho
Following Jose Mourinho’s Premier League title concession, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is not ready to accept a coronation from his Manchester United counterpart.Updated: Feb 02, 2018 21:02 IST
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has refuted Jose Mourinho’s claim that the rest of the Premier League are playing for second place this season.
Guardiola’s men cruised to a 3-0 win over West Brom on Wednesday, while Manchester United’s 2-0 loss at Tottenham left City with a dominant 15-point advantage at the summit.
Mourinho told a news conference ahead of United’s game versus Huddersfield Town that, with 13 games remaining, his team must now aim to be “the first of the last, we have to try to finish second”.
City travel to Burnley in Saturday’s early kick off and, not for the first time in his career, Guardiola disagreed with his old Clasico rival.
“Not yet. There are 13 games, 39 points to play for. We have 15 [more], so it is not over,” he told reporters.
“We have amazing tough games left to play. For example, tomorrow. You cannot deny and everyone knows here in England how complicated it is playing at Burnley.
“After that we have to go to Stoke City, Goodison Park. We have to play United, Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea. Definitely it is not over.”
And Guardiola thinks there are few tougher assignments in English football than a trip to Turf Moor, despite having put seven goals past Sean Dyche’s team over the course of meetings in the Premier League and FA Cup this season.
“We made a good performance against them in the Premier League and the FA Cup but it is completely different to play them at the Etihad Stadium,” he said.
“Last season we won [at Burnley] but it was one of the toughest games we played last season.
“It will be tough. We have to avoid fouls, control the second balls and long balls to [Ashley] Barnes and [Sam] Vokes.
“They are masters, maybe one of the best teams in the Premier League in this style. The way they play in that system they create a lot of problems and put on a lot of pressure.
“In the free-kicks and the corners they are so good. We have to avoid this kind of game as much as possible and do our game to make another step in the title race.”
Guardiola will assess the fitness of David Silva after he hobbled out of the West Brom game with a blow to the hip.
Long-term absentee Benjamin Mendy could return to training with his team-mates in March following cruciate knee ligament surgery and was retained in City’s Champions League squad on Friday.
Record signing Aymeric Laporte was added to the 21-man list along with youngster Oleksandr Zinchenko, who has deputised effectively for Mendy and fellow knee injury absentee Fabian Delph at left-back over recent weeks.