BRIGHTON — Pep Guardiola‘s Manchester City are favorites to win the 2017-18 Premier League.
He’s fine with that.
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Guardiola’s men brushed off a stubborn Brighton & Hove Albion side on Saturday to win their Premier League opener 2-0 at the Amex Stadium, but his Man City side will have to cope with the pressure all season long of being title favorites off the back of a $260 million summer spending spree.
With nine-man Chelsea losing 3-2 at home to Burnley on Saturday, plus Liverpool drawing 3-3 at Watford and Arsenal struggling in a 4-3 win against Leicester City on opening weekend, Guardiola was asked if making his team the favorites again was about right 12 months on from his arrival in England.
He hasn’t forgotten how last season went when they finished third, 15 points off title winners Chelsea.
“Last season I was sitting here after the Sunderland game and you said you are the favorites, most beautiful handsome and nice guys in the league. And after, you know what happened last season? Chelsea kill us,” Guardiola said. “Okay, we accept what the people say and all we have to try is improve and improve.”
Guardiola was happy with the patience of his players on the ball and praised the workrate of his team as he aims to kick on in his second season in charge at the Etihad Stadium.
“We run a lot. People say we are a big team but we run like a team like a League One or a Conference. You don’t see one player on my team who doesn’t run. That is what I am proud of the most,” Guardiola said. “When you see how Sergio[Aguero] and Gabriel [Jesus] run backwards, Kevin and David. When that happens that is the first step to create something. Last season we run a lot and did many, many good things but in the boxes we weren’t good but today in the boxes we were perfect.”
New signings Kyle Walker and Danilo provided width for City and although new goalkeeper Ederson dropped one cross to almost allow Brighton to take the lead, Pep’s men stuck to their task and dominated the newly-promoted as they secured a routine win when many of their main title rivals struggled on opening day.
Guardiola will never shake off the favorite tag so long as he keeps spending big.