Guardiola: We face fight to finish in the top four
Pep Guardiola admitted Manchester City are in a fight for a Champions League place after falling 10 points off the pace in the title race.
Defeat by Liverpool at Anfield has left City well behind the league leaders, with Guardiola admitting at least six clubs are pushing for a top-four place. City now lead their neighbours Manchester United by just three points.
“Definitely,” was the emphatic response of Guardiola when asked if he was more focused on the top four.
“When you win 12 or 13 games in a row [like Chelsea], it is not easy but we start the second half of the season now. We have respect for the other clubs.
“When you are 10 points behind, you have to be focused just on the next game. The next game starts the day after tomorrow and the result is what it is. But there are many things to fight for; the Premier League, the Champions League, the FA Cup.
“We have to wake up because after this we have another game and we have to focus and work because we cannot think about this game, we have to forget about talking about big things. The second half of the league begins and we have to think about that.”
For Jürgen Klopp, the significance of the victory could not be underestimated, although he too admitted concern at Chelsea’s imperious form.
“Maybe we will need to win 14 games in a row,” said the Liverpool manager.
“Nobody really thinks we can do it. It will be difficult enough to win in Sunderland. I know what we have to do to win the next game but not to get Chelsea. We are in the region of the table where we need to be.
“Chelsea are unbelievably strong and they are on an outstanding run.
“They won 13 games in a row. Not bad. Can you imagine how annoying it is when you win 13 games in a row and there is still one team only six points behind? It is unbelievably difficult in this league but we cannot have a look at Chelsea. We have to win our games and see where that takes us.”
Liverpool left-back James Milner conceded his side had not been at their fluent best but said: “Arguably it’s one of the worst performances for how we want to play. But it was a gutsy performance. We had to grind out the result. You can’t always win games the way you want. It’s a massive victory. There’s a long way to go, but it’s pleasing to be up there.”