Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 August 2019

Pep Guardiola warns rivals Manchester City will be back stronger next season

Manchester City were crowned Premier League champions for a second successive season on Sunday

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has fired an ominous warning to the rest of the Premier League that the champions will only get stronger after beating Liverpool to the finish line in one of the most thrilling title races in recent memory.

City clinched back-to-back league titles on Sunday after coming from behind to beat Brighton & Hove Albion 4-1 to notch 98 points for the season, besting Liverpool's tally by one.

Liverpool's points tally of 97 is the third highest in Premier League history, behind only City this season and when they racked up 100 points in storming to the title for the first time under Guardiola last year.

City remain on course for an unprecedented domestic treble this term. They take on Watford in the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday having already secured the League Cup trophy in February, defeating Chelsea on penalties in the final. City also beat the Londoners to lift the Community Shield, the traditional English season curtain-raiser, in August.

But Guardiola is already looking ahead to next season and strengthening his squad to repeat the feats he achieved in winning three titles in a row at Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

"Winning is so addictive and of course in a few days we have the FA Cup," said Guardiola, who has now won eight league titles in 10 seasons as a manager.

"After [we'll] prepare well, take the right decisions for next season to come back stronger because Liverpool will maintain it I think and the other ones will be better.

"I think [Manchester] United must come back, Chelsea one more year with [Maurizio] Sarri will be better, Tottenham we have seen [get to the] final of the Champions League and Arsenal, when they make what they have to do, will be there as well.

"We know it, but we accept the challenge and I promise you we will come back and I have the feeling we will be stronger next season."

Liverpool will have to wait at least another year to add to their 18 league titles having last one the English top-flight in 1990, two years before the Premier League was formed.

Jurgen Klopp's side could console themselves for missing out by beating Tottenham when the two sides meet in the Champions League final in Madrid on June 1, but for Manchester United there are few positives to take from a campaign that ended with an embarrassing 2-0 home defeat by already-relegated Cardiff City.

That loss saw United end the season as close to the relegation zone as the top of the table, and Guardiola used England's traditionally two most successful clubs as an example to City's players, fans and owners not to take their current success for granted.

"Now when you win the title you realise how difficult it is just to win one title," he added.

"Liverpool in the last four years didn't win one. Man United and Liverpool are the biggest clubs in England.

"The biggest mistake, which with me is not going to happen, is believe we are something special, because you win four or five titles in two years. But still you can go the next four or five without winning anything.

"That's why I want the fans, the organisation, to enjoy that moment because it's so complicated."

Updated: May 13, 2019 05:10 PM

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