Pep Guardiola rejects experience bonus in Manchester City’s Premier League title hunt


Guardiola spurned suggestions that Manchester City’s four Premier League trophies in five seasons will give them an advantage in the title race.

Erling Haaland’s spot-kick secured City a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday to ensure Guardiola’s men kept pace with leaders Arsenal, on course for their first title since 2003-04.

Speaking after the 0-1 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday evening, Pep Guardiola insisted that if experience was such a bonus for his Manchester City players, then they would be winning the Premier League title every season.

“Listen, if experience works, the team who wins the previous season will win every single season. Experience in sport is a new challenge. Look, Liverpool lost today against Bournemouth. A few months ago, 9-0. Everything is so difficult,” said the Catalan coach.

“What they have done in the past, is the past. You have to do it again because football is unpredictable. Nobody expects many things to happen in football, the people take for granted and it is not the truth. So the reality is still we are there and this is the biggest.”

Guardiola suggested Arsenal’s best crack at a Premier League title since the Invincibles’ unbeaten run could in fact be giving the Gunners extra fuel as they look forward to the final stretch – including a trip to the Etihad on April 26 – before the campaign closes.

“Arsenal are still the favourites because they are up front. They have for many years not won the Premier League, they give you this extra that helps you win games in (1991), 1998,” said Guardiola, reflecting on Arsenal’s past Premier League title in 1997-98 and Football League First Division trophy in 1990-91.

“That is something they have that we don’t have, because we won back-to-back two times. That’s why, when people say ‘what about Europe, about the team, about the season?’, after two times back-to-back in which one team have had 50 points in the first (half of the season), still we are there.

“Normally in this country, when you win a lot and you don’t start the season well, or someone is a bit better, you drop it. You are not this consistent.

“Still we are there. This is the best ‘trophy’, and compliment, that we can have. I don’t know what’s going to happen at the end of the season, but still they know that we want to be there. And we will fight to be there, and this is great.”

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