Guardi­ola: We face fight to fin­ish in the top four

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - FRONT PAGE - By Chris Bas­combe at An­field

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.”

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