MANCHESTER, England — Pep Guardiola has told his players they have to remain calm after taking a huge step towards the Premier League title with a 2-0 victory over Manchester United.
City moved a point clear at the top with victory in the Manchester derby courtesy of second half goals from Bernardo Silva and Leroy Sane. Following on from Saturday’s victory over third-placed Tottenham Hotspur, City have seemingly got the toughest matches of their run-in out of the way, but Guardiola says they cannot take anything for granted.
“Now is time to be calm — don’t read, don’t switch on the TV or listen to the radio,” he told a news conference. “Liverpool I think are not going to drop points. If we drop points they have the chance to win but it’s in our hands. We won the last 11 — It’s incredible what these players have done so far but still we have a job to do.
“If that victory happened in December or January we’d celebrate more. We can enjoy it more. Maybe tonight we can enjoy it but tomorrow it’s over. We have to be focused.
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“I know people will talk about how beautiful we are, how handsome we are, but now we have to go to Burnley. My two previous seasons in Burnley were incredibly tough.”
It marks a strong recovery from Guardiola’s side following the heartbreak of their exit from the Champions League to Spurs on away goal’s rule just a week ago. The City boss says his players deserve a lot of credit for responding from the huge setback and keeping the title race in their own hands.
“I think that is the most difficult and incredible detail for these players — you cannot imagine how tough it was to go out of the beautiful competition the Champions League,” he said. “For one handball not given, for one inch offside, it was really tough. Three days later we have Tottenham at home, it was not the best performance, but the sun was shining, incredibly warm on the pitch, to stay alive in the Premier League [race] when they didn’t play for anything because they will qualify for the Champions League, the pressure we felt and how we reacted, that is more important than the other things your can read or write or say.
“After that we come here to United, the most prestigious team in England in 20 or 30 years, and for a third time in a row we won.”
City did suffer one setback with Fernandinho limping off early in the second half with a knee injury. The Brazilian midfielder picked up the injury blocking a shot from Paul Pogba and will face scans on Thursday.
“We are going to make the scan and we will see. I will talk to the doctor and he will make the best decision for everybody,” he told reporters. “When I blocked the shot from Paul I felt my knee. It twisted a little bit. I could continue playing but I came off. That’s what it is.”