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Pep urges City to remain focused

Written by on 30th April 2024

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has urged his players to remain focused after the 4-0 thrashing of Brighton.

City moved a point behind Premier League leaders Arsenal and leapfrogged Jurgen Klopp’s side into second spot thanks to Phil Foden’s double and goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Julian Alvarez.

A thumping south-coast success came 24 hours after Liverpool lost further ground in the title race by suffering a 2-0 loss to their Merseyside rivals at Goodison Park on the back of a shock 1-0 home defeat to Crystal Palace earlier this month.

Guardiola, whose reigning champions have a game in hand over their two closest rivals, insists the Reds remain contenders and acknowledges City are also susceptible to slipping up during the run-in.

“I said to the players what happened to Liverpool can happen to us and can happen to Arsenal,” said the Spaniard.

“People didn’t expect them to lose against Crystal Palace and yesterday but it can happen to us – it’s football.

“Everton is playing to avoid the relegation zone and we have a similar game at Nottingham Forest (on Sunday) and they play for their lives.

“Maybe because they were a real contender of ours for many years, my appreciation for Liverpool is higher than ever.

“Still it (the title) is there (for Liverpool) because I know the character of their team. They are going to fight until the end and we have to do it too.”

City eased their way into Thursday evening’s clash at the Amex Stadium before De Bruyne’s superb diving header and Foden’s quick-fire brace put them in complete control at the break.

Alvarez completed the rout as the visitors resumed their title defence with a statement of intent after scraping past Chelsea to reach the FA Cup final and crashing out of the Champions League at the hands of Real Madrid.

Guardiola is chasing a fourth successive top-flight title – and sixth in seven seasons – but is unsure if the previous achievements will give his team the edge in the final weeks of the campaign.

“I would love to say yes but I don’t know,” he said.

“What we have done in the past doesn’t mean it’s going to happen in the future. To do it again, you have to make it happen. We know what we’re playing for.

“We know that if we don’t win or we draw, we will not have chance to fight until the end, so of course the pressure is there, otherwise we cannot perform that well.

“Five games left and on to the next.”

Brighton’s persistence in playing out from the back contributed to their own downfall on a difficult evening.

The Seagulls had reason to feel aggrieved about the award of the free-kick from which Foden claimed the visitors’ second, while referee Jarred Gillett later waved away a strong penalty appeal when Joao Pedro appeared to be bundled over by Josko Gvardiol.

Yet 11th-placed Albion could have few complaints about a one-sided result which further damages their floundering European push.

Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi refused to blame the officiating after his injury-hit side’s winless run stretched to five games.

“We played against one of the best teams in the world,” said the Italian.

“We tried to play without DNA, respecting our qualities. We conceded the first, the second, the third, the fourth all in a bad way, we made mistakes.

“I’m frustrated because we can’t compete against the big teams in this moment and we have to be honest.

“We didn’t lose for the referee’s responsibilities.”

Published: by Radio NewsHub

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