Win at Chelsea was a ‘key step’ in City’s run to ti­tle

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Premier League - By James Ducker

Pep Guardi­ola re­turns to Chelsea to­day con­vinced that Manch­ester City’s vic­tory at Stam­ford Bridge last sea­son was the mo­ment his mas­ter plan be­gan to crys­tallise.

City’s 1-0 win against the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons in Septem­ber last year, se­cured by a stun­ning sec­ond­half goal from Kevin De Bruyne, won wide­spread plau­dits and was one of the high­lights of an 18-match win­ning run in the Premier League.

Guardi­ola be­lieves it set the tone for City’s march to the ti­tle and marked a level they have since con­tin­ued to reach with reg­u­lar­ity.

“Last sea­son, win­ning there was more than three points,” said the City man­ager, who will be with­out De Bruyne as well as striker Ser­gio Aguero tonight. “It showed we could do it. It was an im­por­tant step, the first im­por­tant game away against the last cham­pion.

“In these sort of games, of course we want to win, but I’m more fo­cused on be­hav­iour. How we are as a team on those sort of stages. That’s what I want to see from my team.”

Guardi­ola be­lieves City have had “many” such mo­ments this sea­son and hopes his team can claim an­other away vic­tory against a ti­tle ri­val af­ter wins at Arse­nal, Tot­ten­ham and a point at Liver­pool.

“We play five hy­po­thet­i­cal strong teams in the league and Chelsea is the last one away, apart from Manch­ester United, who we played at home, and our be­hav­iour was good,” he said.

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