Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says the Premier League is the ‘toughest league’ he has worked in, while admitting Liverpool are one of the best sides he has ever faced.
Having won titles in both Spain and Germany, Man City are just two wins from winning back-to-back Premier League titles, and boss Guardiola insists English football’s top division has been his most difficult challenge.
“It’s the toughest league I’ve ever played as a manager, for the quality from the rivals, no doubts. That’s why being there is incredible,” he said in his pre-match press conference.
“But, of course, only one will take the prize and the other one will be at home sad.”
Liverpool‘s 3-2 win at Newcastle on Saturday took them back to the top of the table, ensuring that the title race will be decided on the final day of the season, and Guardiola was full of praise for Jurgen Klopp’s side, describing them as one of the best teams he has faced in his career.
Asked how he would rank title success, Guardiola said: “A lot, a lot. One of the biggest achievements.
“Arriving at this stage, two games left with 92 points, after 100 points, that is the most satisfaction I’ve had as a manager. It’s not easy, honestly, and they did it again.
“I would not say that 100 points was bad and that we are not satisfied with what we did last season but, at the same time, we were seven points behind (this season).
“You give credit for the titles and how huge our rival is. In my career as a manager, I played against incredible sides and there are two that were ‘wow’.
“One is the Barcelona of Luis Enrique with Neymar, (Lionel) Messi and (Luis) Suarez in front. The other is this Liverpool. I think they’re the best two sides I’ve faced as a manager.
“That’s why being there, with it in our hands, fighting against them until the end, after being seven points behind – it’s incredible what we have done. But it will make more sense if we are able to lift the Premier League.”
City host Brendan Rodgers’ in-form Leicester on Monday night with anything but a win leaving City in second place, and Guardiola is anticipating a difficult encounter as the season reaches its conclusion.
“I think in the last games of the season when everyone plays for something, always the games are more tight. People take more caution about what happens.
“We play for the Premier League and sometimes your mind is thinking a little bit about what will happen. That’s normal.
“What’s important is at Burnley we didn’t concede one shot on target or one corner away. That’s awesome, that is incredible.
“We created enough chances to score more goals and on Monday we’ll try the same.”