Pep Guardiola has discussed Manchester City’s prolonged ‘successful era’ as the club close in on another Premier League title.
City can be crowned champions for the third time in just four seasons should results go their way this weekend, with Guardiola’s side facing Crystal Palace on Saturday before second-placed Manchester United host Liverpool the following day.
Victory for the league leaders will mean defeat for the Red Devils on Sunday will crown them Premier League title winners again, in what will be Guardiola’s eighth major honour won since arriving at the Etihad in 2016.
City also lifted the Carabao Cup final last weekend and took a huge step towards a maiden Champions League final after beating Paris Saint-Germain in midweek, with Guardiola opening up on what has proven the most successful era in the club’s history.
“In our period together, these five seasons together, it is the same like the first Premier League we won. We are almost the same guys with the same identity,” Guardiola told his pre-match press conference.
“About the era, it involves more people – Sheikh Mansour and Khaldoon took over the club and that enabled the development of the players, the facilities, being professional in all departments of the club. I feel it – I came from Barcelona and Bayern Munich so I know what I’m talking about.
“It’s not a club that just has incredible players, it is more than that. This is incredible. You start to build from Mark Hughes and then success with Roberto Mancini, Manuel [Pellegrini] and many sporting directors and CEOs in this decade. It has been a successful era for this club. It is not just the people right now, that’s for sure.”
Guardiola has opened up on his side’s success this season and has praised the ‘quality and humanity’ of his players, with City having been comfortably clear of the chasing pack for much of the campaign.
“The success of the season so far is the quality and humanity of the players. The second is not thinking too far ahead and of course, all the managers want to ask the players to express themselves as who they are as a team. Every team has its own identity.
“In important games where you don’t have a second chance, Palace is an important game, but in knockout games like Chelsea, Tottenham or Paris there are no half chances and the approach is to try to reach our level in these stages. There will be another example next Tuesday. But without the quality and the humanity of the players, you can demand or suggest something but if they don’t have it then we don’t have it.”
The Spaniard was asked to compare this season’s success to previous title-winning seasons, though refused to get carried away and says he will not comment on such matters until the title is mathematically secured.
“Let me try to win at Crystal Palace. Don’t ask me what I will feel when I still haven’t felt experienced it because it didn’t happen.
“United is an extraordinary team arriving in the last two months in their best form of the season and we need five points to be champions. Tomorrow we have an incredible opportunity to make this step. Once we win this game, we will think about what will happen and when it has happened you can ask me whatever about my feelings and I will answer you but I cannot answer about my feelings in the future because I haven’t experienced it.”