A bullish Pep Guardiola says he believes Manchester City will win a record fourth consecutive Premier League title despite a three-match winless run.
The defending champions have drawn their past three league games, against Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham, and are three points behind leaders Arsenal ahead of Wednesday’s match at Aston Villa.
City have been unusually leaky in defence, conceding eight goals over those three matches as they prepare for a tough test against Unai Emery’s men, who have won their past 13 home league games in a row.
Guardiola admitted that last season’s treble winners need tighten up at the back but said they were still not losing many games.
The City boss said despite their stumbles he was confident his men were on track to become the first team in English top-flight history to win four league titles in a row.
“The motivation is to do it better,” he said at his pre-match press conference on Tuesday. “I learned from where I come from that if you want to win you have to do it better than the opponent.
“We have to do much better. We have to try and not concede chances, or goals.
“My feeling today is we will win the Premier League, if you ask me. If we play at the level of Liverpool or Tottenham we are going to win it again.
“The people don’t believe it after three draws but we are going to do it again, knowing it is not easy because no team have done it yet. That’s why the difficulty is there.”
City will be without suspended midfielder Rodri for the trip to Villa Park — they lost all three games earlier this season when he was previously suspended.
John Stones will be fit to return and Guardiola admitted he could push the England international into midfield in place of the Spaniard.
“We don’t deny how important he is but he’s not there, suspended, like Jack (Grealish), so we will find the best solution to compete against Aston Villa,” said Guardiola.
Guardiola defended his team after the club were charged by the Football Association over their players’ behaviour in the final moments of their 3-3 draw against Tottenham at the weekend.
Several City stars, including an irate Erling Haaland, surrounded referee Simon Hooper after he failed to play advantage, with the Norwegian criticising Hooper in a social media post.
Guardiola said he did not know how the club would react to the FA charge.
But he added: “We have behaved incredibly in these years, especially this season, how we behaved in our not-good results. The decisions sometimes are in favour, sometimes against (us), but we behaved even after the game.
“The comments from my players (were) about accepting that we can do better — and me first. It’s what I want to see of my club, of my team.
“After that, we will accept all the decisions of the Premier League or whatever.”
Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –