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Manchester City celebrate winning the Premier League. Picture: REUTERS/HANNAH MCKAY
Manchester City celebrate winning the Premier League. Picture: REUTERS/HANNAH MCKAY

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola hailed his team as “legends” after they won their fourth Premier League title in five years with a 3-2 comeback win over Aston Villa in Sunday’s final game.

City trailed 2-0 and risked seeing the title slip out of their grasp before Ilkay Gundogan scored, Rodri equalised and then Germany midfielder Gundogan grabbed the winner in an incredible five-minute spell.

“Four Premier Leagues — these guys are legends already; people have to admit it. This group of players are absolutely eternal in this club because what we achieved is so difficult,” said the Spaniard.

“First one to get 100 points [in 2017/2018], second one in Brighton [final day, 2018/2019], the third without people and this one with people is the best,” he added.

City crashed out of the Champions League with a semifinal loss to Real Madrid after conceding three goals within five minutes late in the second leg and Guardiola jokingly said that he had taken tips from the Spanish club.

“I called Real Madrid and they gave me good advice.” he said. “No explanation in Madrid, no explanation today. It’s momentum. Sometimes it’s nice to live these situations. I have the feeling this will help us to be stronger next season,” he said.

“Maybe we need a little more time but every second that passes after this Premier League we realise that four Premier Leagues in five years in this country is probably the best achievement we have done in our careers. It is incredible,” he added.

The former Barcelona coach, who moves ahead of Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho, who both had three Premier League title triumphs, showed empathy for Liverpool, who finished second.

This is the most difficult game to win — you have to close something that has taken 10 months. Serving to win Wimbledon is the most difficult, say the tennis players, and it was similar today.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola

“Juergen Klopp said a few days ago about the winners that there are few winners but a lot of triers. I love this concept. I’m a good trier. I’m going to say that Liverpool are losers? What they have done in the Premier League in the last few years when there was a team that was one inch better than them ... but they are winners,” he said.

Not that Guardiola was going to deny he felt worried when his team fell two goals behind.

“Of course, a lot of thoughts, so difficult; always I had the feeling we needed a goal. This is the most difficult game to win — you have to close something that has taken 10 months. Serving to win Wimbledon is the most difficult, say the tennis players, and it was similar today,” he added.

The City boss said that the atmosphere at the Etihad Stadium was the best he had experienced and he was relishing Monday’s victory parade. “Hopefully, we will celebrate with cigars and beer — I’ll bring my cigars, don’t worry.”

Meanwhile, missing out on the Premier League title on the last day of the season has given Liverpool an extra edge heading into the Champions League final, manager Juergen Klopp said.

Liverpool came from behind to beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-1 at Anfield, before Man City’s own comeback to win the league. But the Reds have already won the League Cup and FA Cup and could add a seventh European crown to their collection in the Champions League final against Real Madrid on Saturday.

“This season is absolutely incredible and will not end today, it ends next week obviously,” Klopp told reporters. “And there we will try absolutely everything.

“We have now five days to prepare for the final, that’s what we will do. And of course, losing the league today increased the desire to put it right next week, it increased the desire.”

Klopp congratulated Guardiola. “I am proud but I’m disappointed, of course, as well,” Klopp said. “There are maybe worse scenarios, if you would have been a point up and don’t make it, that might feel even worse.

“Congratulations to Manchester City, Pep Guardiola, all staff, all players, whole club, for being champions. We were close but in the end not close enough. That’s how it is.”

Liverpool face the Spanish champions in Paris on Saturday in a rematch of the 2018 showpiece in Kyiv, which Real Madrid won 3-1.

Reuters

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