Back-to-back bid feels better than ever for Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola

Back-to-back bid feels better than ever for Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola

Back-to-back bid feels better than ever for Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City are in a better position to win a third consecutive Premier League than the last time they won consecutive titles.

The Etihad Stadium squad have been the dominant side in English football since the Catalan took over, finishing third in his first season, followed by four league titles in five seasons.

Liverpool are the only side to have won the title in that time, with Jürgen Klopp’s men finishing 18 points ahead of second-placed City in 2019-20.

Pep Guardiola is a four-time Premier League winner with Manchester City (Zac Goodwin/PA)

(PA wire)

There was a grim early drop-off after winning the league in 2017-18 and 2018-19, with Guardiola confident they are now in a better headspace to go for three in a row.

“I think we were pretty consistent in these five games,” the City boss said after winning four and leveling the others in their start to the campaign.

“Even in America, in the pre-season against Bayern Munich, we were pretty consistent. We don’t change our patterns much.

“When we talk, (doing) is the same, the same. It gives confidence to the team and helps. It feels good. However, it is only five Premier League matches.

“After successive Premier League titles I said I wanted to see how people come back in pre-preparation, how they start the games because the third season after the back-to-back was really bad, how we started. Liverpool flew and we couldn’t catch them.

“This year I was curious about the smell in training and in preparation. Since day one, I like what I’ve seen.

“We have to try to keep going because if you relax a little bit in this competition, I know what’s going to happen.

“The big mistake for tomorrow is to think ‘ah Aston Villa’ and then not start well. Big mistake on our part.”

Guardiola is impressed with what he has seen in terms of the mentality of the group on and off the pitch.

That feeling was reinforced by the second half setback in the 4-2 win over Crystal Palace last weekend, as was the 6-0 shellacking of newly promoted Nottingham Forest on Wednesday.

“This is what we need to continue,” Guardiola said. “It is our duty to go for 11 months.

“It doesn’t matter what happened in the past, it’s about doing our job. That’s why we’ve had success in the past.

“After Forest, we said we made our people happy, the 55,000 who came here. They went home and said the 90 minutes were fun.

“Talking about titles is ridiculous, it’s about Forest. We had fun, the fans had fun. We felt it. People forgot about Villa last season, we have to do our job.”

Steven Gerrard’s side face the unenviable task of trying to stop City on Saturday night, with Erling Haaland sure to lick his lips at the prospect of seeing one side suffer a run of three consecutive defeats.

The 22-year-old summer signing has exceeded expectations since he arrived, scoring hat-tricks against Palace and Forest to take his tally to nine goals in five league games.

When asked if people now have unrealistic expectations of Haaland, Guardiola said: “Yes. People can expect it, it’s fun, it’s good. I’d rather, I want him to expect it too.

Erling Haaland has got off to a flying start to his City career (Nick Potts/PA)

(PA wire)

“I like that he wants to score three goals every game, but that’s not going to happen.

“I know it’s not going to happen, everyone in the football world knows it’s not going to happen. If it doesn’t happen, okay, then it won’t happen. What’s next? We’ll try to do better next time.

“But the expectation is there because the numbers are incredible for this man in his career. He scored nine goals in five games and it’s really good.

“But what’s important is not the perfect start. The perfect start is Arsenal’s, but we are close, and the feeling is that we are playing well and we will continue to do so.”

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