EPL

'We can do mistakes and win the title' – Guardiola says slip might not be fatal

By Sports Desk April 01, 2022

Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City could slip up before the season ends and still claim the Premier League title.

With Liverpool chasing hard, there appears to be little wriggle room for leaders City, who have nine games remaining in their trophy defence.

Liverpool visit City on April 10 in a fixture that could go a long way to determining the destiny of the title, given its proximity to the end of the campaign.

Former Barcelona boss Guardiola can see a scenario, though, where City do not have everything go their own way between now and the final-day clash with Aston Villa on May 22, yet still end up as champions.

"We can do mistakes and win the title, so nobody knows," manager Guardiola told a news conference ahead of City's game at Burnley.

"Whatever happens in this game or the next one or the next one, it's not going to be champion. We're going to fight until the end, that's for sure."

City could drop down to second place by the time they tackle Burnley on Saturday afternoon. Liverpool, who are a point adrift, have an earlier game against Watford.

But Guardiola says his players would feel no psychological effect should they be knocked from their perch by Jurgen Klopp's team.

"Nothing. Zero. Why [would it]?" Guardiola said. "At the end of the weekend we'll know the position we are. But even going a point in front or a point backward, we have to do our job, nothing changes."

This is the time of the season when both Liverpool and City risk being stretched, despite their player pool resources.

Both are chasing titles in England and Europe, with Guardiola wary his side will be playing midweek and weekend games throughout April if they maintain their Champions League push by seeing off Atletico Madrid in the quarter-finals.

"It's not the first time we've done it," he said. "That means so far we have done incredibly well. Now it is game by game, and the first is Burnley."

City won 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium when they met Burnley in October, and that was also the outcome when these sides went head-to-head at Turf Moor last sesson.

Saturday's game promises to be a clash of cultures, with City having had 685 open play sequences of 10-plus passes in the Premier League this season, at least 187 more than any other side. Burnley have managed just 66 such sequences, making them the only side yet to have reached triple figures for that metric.

This is a fixture that might slip off the Premier League schedule next season, with Burnley second-bottom and in danger of relegation.

Guardiola expressed his admiration for Burnley boss Sean Dyche, but these are worrying times for the Clarets chief, whose team have lost their last three Premier League games by an aggregate score of 8-0, despite being level at half-time in all three. They last lost four consecutive league games without scoring a single goal back in May 2015.

City have won 24 of their last 26 Premier League games against sides starting the day in the relegation zone.

After Burnley away, City head into the first leg with Atletico on Tuesday, before Liverpool head to Manchester. After that game, there will be just seven rounds of Premier League games remaining.

"We have still nine games to play," Guardiola said on Friday. "Game by game, we'll see what happens.

"We know what we have to do, we have to win games, that's all. We're going to try."

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