The Star Late Edition
Toughest title to win so far for Guardiola
MANCHESTER City manager Pep Guardiola said his third Premier League title, secured on Tuesday after a lockdown-impacted campaign, was the toughest he had won so far.
City, who could complete a rare domestic and European treble if they beat Chelsea in the May 29 Champions League final, ended their wait to be confirmed as league winners when second-placed Manchester United lost at home to Leicester City.
“This has been a season and a Premier League title like no other,” the Spaniard said.
“This was the hardest one. We will always remember this season for the way that we won. I am so proud to be the manager here, and of this group of players.
“They are so special. To come through this season – with all the restrictions and difficulties we’ve faced – and show the consistency we have is remarkable.”
A compressed campaign, caused by the stoppage to last season due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, made for a gruelling schedule with little respite.
But the former Barcelona boss said his players had risen to the challenge.
“It is relentless. Every single day, they are there, fighting for success, trying always to be better. They have been so, so resilient,” he said.
“That is equally true of each and every member of our backroom staff, who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that our players are fully equipped to take on the unexpected challenges and new routines throughout such a turbulent year.”
While Guardiola is now clearly focused on getting his hands on his first Champions League trophy since his 2011 win with Barca, he said there was a real sense of satisfaction in coming out on top on the home front.
“At the start of every season, the Premier League is the most important title for us,” he said.
“This is the one where you have to be there every three days, playing all your rivals home and away.
“Only by being the very best, week-in week-out, can you win this competition. It is a huge success.”