Pep Guardiola has set out what his Manchester City team must do in the final 10 games of the Premier League to seal the title, and was in a defiant mood after their defeat to rivals Manchester United.
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City lost 2-0 to second-place United, as their incredible run of 21 wins on the spin was ended.
Guardiola’s side are still 11 points clear at the top of the table and they host Southampton on Wednesday (start time, 1pm ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) as they can extend their lead further.
“We have done incredible, but today the news is we lost so congrats Man United for this victory, but we are trying to win the Premier League,” Guardiola said. “We will try to win the Premier League and we need to win six or seven games and now when you arrive in the last 10 games, everything is going to be shorter.
“Our opponents would have to win all their games and then we would have to lose four or five. What we need to do is recover. I will not speak to the team tomorrow but on the day of the game I will tell the team how incredible they are because of the way we lost today and kept going to the end against an incredibly difficult team who have been one year unbeaten away from home. Having the margin we have at the top; it is in our hands but what we need now is new fresh legs next Wednesday and try to win another game.”
What lies ahead for Manchester City?
Guardiola said it himself, losing to Manchester United may actually be a good thing for City ahead of the business end of the season.
It is pretty clear they won’t lose another four games between now and the end of the season, but Guardiola also admitted that ‘everything is possible in football’ and is clearly not planning on coasting to success.
With 10 games to go, plus the League Cup final, FA Cup quarterfinal and it looks like a deep run in the UEFA Champions League, keeping the players grounded and humble is key.
The amazing 21-game winning run in all competitions was sensational, but it had to end sometime. It’s probably best it ended now in order to refocus the team ahead of what many expect to be a quadruple.
Manchester City only face three top six teams in their final 10 games, Leicester City, Chelsea and Everton, and the rest look like nailed on wins. They will win the title because even if they slip up, Manchester United and Leicester aren’t equipped to win all of their remaining games. It just won’t happen.
Stranger things have happened, but Guardiola is right. Six wins from 10 will seal the title and City will look to get that done and dusted ASAP so they can then focus on the Champions League and cup competitions. Let’s see how the champions elect responded to this unexpected setback.