Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has warned that Manchester United could still overhaul his side in the Premier League title race.
United inflicted just the second League defeat of the season on City by winning the Manchester derby last week with that sensational 3-2 win at the Etihad, and in the process stopped City being confirmed as Champions.
The result narrowed the gap to at the top to still what looks like an unassailable 13 point lead, but having also now lost three games in a week (two to Liverpool in the Champions League and and the Manchester Derby), Pep Guardiola is refusing to rule out an end of season collapse, and has used examples from Spanish football and the NBA to prove his point.
“It can happen,” Guardiola said.
“Football is emotional. We can only try to focus and win at Tottenham and then Swansea.
“The fact is that since November or December we were already champions. When I heard pundits and fans in November they said it’s all done, it’s impossible for City to drop points. In one week we lost three games, that happened.
“We are able to win the two games [we need to confirm the title] and we will do that. We handled the pressure between the good and bad moments for the entire season, not just in this period.
“Dealing with the end of season pressure is good for our future. We have to handle that. If we are not able to in the end and United win the league then all we can says is ‘congratulations’.
“Of course it can happen, I assure you. Real Madrid, many years ago, lose six games in a row and didn’t win the league. Of course it can happen, no doubts about that. The players know that, I don’t need to tell them.
“Never before in the NBA had one team in the final recovered from 3-1 down. One year ago Cavaliers won 4-3 against Golden State Warriors, winning three games in a row.
“It’s in our hands, that is the good advantage. If we lose it will be in the same way we tried to play against United and Liverpool. Congratulations to the opponents if they beat us.”
City of course overhauled United’s 8 point lead at the top of the table to lift the 2011/12 title, but surely 13 points in just six games is too much…isn’t it?