Speaking after City suffered three defeats in a week — two against Liverpool to crash out of the UEFA Champions League at the quarterfinal stage and a 3-2 loss to Man United to delay their title celebrations — Guardiola admitted that City may not win the PL title… even though they’re 13 points clear of second-place United with six games to go.
Here’s what Guardiola said when asked about the possibility of his team blowing their huge lead in the final weeks of the season.
“But in one week we lost three games. That happened. So we have to play tomorrow and after that we see the result from United,” Guardiola said. “But it doesn’t depend on the United result, it’s in our hands, it’s up to us to win our games, and we are able to win [the] two games [needed]. We handled the pressure – the good, the bad situations – the whole season.”
Asked about Man City coping with the pressure of the title race, Guardiola believes this wobble will help his men, in the long run, but admitted United could still win the PL.
“That will be good for our future, you have to handle that,” Guardiola added. “You have to learn that because, at the end, if we were not able to do it and United win the league, all we can say is ‘congratulations’ to United, reflect on what we have done badly in the last month and move forward. But in football it can happen.”
Now, even the most optimistic United fan and pessimistic City fan would not believe that Man City don’t end up as the PL champions this season. If they didn’t win it, that would mean United winning all of their remaining six games, which they could easily do, and City losing at least five times. The latter won’t happen and City will likely be crowned champions on Apr. 22 or 29.
That said, it is easily conceivable for City to lose at Spurs on Saturday to stretch their run of successive defeats and you could maybe make an argument that a late season surge from United to cut City’s lead atop the table would be a big psychological boost heading into next season.
Despite all of the glorious play and all of the plaudits lavished on City this season, if United finish just 5-8 points behind them in the title race, is that acceptable for Jose Mourinho and Co.?
It could well provide some what of a feel-good factor over the summer and give Mourinho hope that if he can bring in the right defensive players, United can push City all the way next season.