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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 April 2019

Pep Guardiola: Manchester City have to win last five games to pip Liverpool to Premier League title

Liverpool reclaimed top spot with a 2-0 victory over Chelsea on Sunday after City had held it for a few hours following their 3-1 win over Crystal Palace

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola saw his side beat Crystal Palace 3-1 at Selhurst Park on Sunday to briefly move back to the top of the Premier League. EPA
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola saw his side beat Crystal Palace 3-1 at Selhurst Park on Sunday to briefly move back to the top of the Premier League. EPA

Pep Guardiola says nothing less than five wins from Manchester City's remaining games will see them pip Liverpool to the Premier League title.

Liverpool reclaimed top spot with a 2-0 victory over Chelsea on Sunday after City had held it for a few hours following their 3-1 win over Crystal Palace earlier in the day.

It means City remain two points behind but, crucially, they have a game in hand, and Guardiola believes they cannot afford a single slip-up during the run-in.

"We think Liverpool are going to win all their games, but the Premier League position is in our hands," he said.

"We have to win every game if we want to make back-to-back titles. We know that, and the players have shown they want to do it, and I didn't have any doubts about that."

Selhurst Park has been a graveyard for title campaigns in the recent past, notably when Liverpool's wheels came off in 2014 and City suffered a similar fate a year later.

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But Raheem Sterling's double and a late third from Gabriel Jesus, after Luka Milivojevic gave Palace brief hope with a free kick, kept City's bid to retain their crown firmly on track.

"I'm so pleased," added Guardiola. "The amount of games we have had - Brighton, and three days later the Champions League, and now here, and the way we played for 75 or 80 minutes was really good.

"In two seasons we've got 83 points with five games left. Incredible numbers and it shows how consistent we are."

City are chasing an unprecedented four major trophies this season to add to the Community Shield, the traditional curtain-raiser to the English top-flight season. Guardiola's squad secured the League Cup trophy in February with a shoot-out victory over Chelsea and will contest next month's FA Cup final against Watford at Wembley. City host Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday looking to overturn the 1-0 first-leg deficit in their Champions League quarter-final before again facing the London club at the Etihad Stadium in the league three days later.

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has no doubt City can pull off an unprecedented clean sweep.

"I think they look in very good shape," he said. "They came here with a fully-fit squad and they paid us the respect of putting a very strong team out. That doesn't make the task any easier.

"I can only say what everyone else knows. They are a very good team and will take some beating in any competition they play."

Updated: April 15, 2019 11:44 AM

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