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Guardiola fires title warning: Of course United can still win

Pep Guardiola is wary about Manchester United

April 14: Pep Guardiola has warned Manchester City that Manchester United are more than capable of snatching the Premier League title from their grasp in the closing weeks of the season.

City had the chance to claim the domestic crown against their city rivals in last Saturday's derby at the Etihad Stadium, only to surrender a 2-0 half-time lead to lose 3-2.

Despite that setback, just two more wins from their remaining six games will see Guardiola get his hands on the trophy for the first time, regardless of United's final results.

However, speaking ahead of Saturday's tough trip to Tottenham, the former Barcelona boss pointed to a famous late collapse from Real Madrid in the 2003-04 season – in which they let slip an eight-point advantage and dropped from first to fourth in the final 12 matches – as proof nothing can be taken for granted.

"My feeling now is United are going to win a lot of points because they are in good shape and have top players," said the City boss, whose side exited the Champions League to Liverpool this week after a 5-1 aggregate defeat. "They can win all six, so we have to do it.

"Football is emotions. Since November, December, we were already champions. When I see the pundits, it's already done, it's impossible. In one week, we lost three games. That happens.

"We have to win our games and we are able to win two games. We handled pressure all season. If, at the end, we are not able and United win the league, all we can say is congratulations United, reflect on what we have done bad in the last month and move forward.

"Of course it can happen. I assure you. Real Madrid, years ago, lost six in a row and didn't win the league. Of course it can happen. They [the players] know that. It's not necessary to say that. But it's in our hands."

City have also been tipped for success in the season's individual awards, with Kevin De Bruyne expected to rival Liverpool's Mohamed Salah for player of the year honours.

Guardiola believes David Silva deserves at least to be nominated, although he does not think the Spain star will be aggrieved to miss out.

"No doubt," he said when asked if Silva merits a nomination. "But I'm not a big fan of this kind of situation. Of course, I would like my players to be there but of course other players deserve to be there.

"I think David is so normal a guy. He prefers to have the recognition for the team-mates or the staff. Of course, I think he would like to be there, but it doesn't change his life too much, I think."

The Premier League announced on Friday that clubs had voted against implementing VAR next season, instead outlining the need to continue advanced testing.

Guardiola says City were in favour of the technology being introduced, but he hopes the delay will allow the system to be improved.

"I think Manchester City agreed with VAR but the other top teams, United, Chelsea, I think didn't want it. It's okay," he added.

"I think the referees must be helped. Football is quicker, faster. Before, the back four was not well organised, now all the teams are well organised.

"I don't have a real opinion on if it works or doesn't work. That's good – next time, it will be better, more efficient."

Source: OPTA

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Story first published: Saturday, April 14, 2018, 3:00 [IST]
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