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Guardiola: City relishing tough title challenge

PREVIEW: Pep addresses the media...

PREVIEW: Pep addresses the media...

Pep Guardiola says Manchester City are relishing the challenge of a much tighter Premier League title race this season.

In addition to creating a host of records last season, City were able to open up a large gap at the top of the table by the midway point of the season and eventually we secured the title by a 19 point margin, another record.

This term, the Blues have again been in exceptional form, having won 12 and drawn two of our 14 league games to date. However, our challengers have stepped up their own performances with second-placed Liverpool currently just two points behind Cityand Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham also in hot pursuit.

And as the City boss looked ahead to Tuesday’s Premier League trip to Watford, he said the dogged determination of our domestic rivals was no surprise and was a challenge the Blues were embracing.

READ: Pep reveals latest injury updates ahead of Watford trip

WATCH: City 3-1 Bournemouth | Extended highlights

“Last season was an exception… especially the end of December and January,” said Guardiola.

“It’s normal to have big rivals who are close to you. I think we have just two less points than this time last year, and what we have done is quite similar, but the contenders are much better.

“That is what it is. It will be a challenge, but I couldn't expect a different situation looking at the quality of the clubs and squads. You have to accept the challenge – that is the important thing.

“Arsenal v Spurs on Sunday was an incredible game with different tactical variations from both sides and we saw one week ago how incredible Tottenham were (against Chelsea), then Arsenal were incredible against them. It shows how tough the competition is.

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“The other game on Sunday between Liverpool and Everton game saw both sides creating chances. It shows how the game can be open. For the Premier League it’s incredible and shows how complicated the league is.

“We have a big challenge and we have to accept it and see whether we are able to handle it.”

Guardiola also spoke about the challenge of managing the fierce competition for places within the City squad.

READ: Which TV channel is Watford v Man City on

WATCH: Bernardo so happy to be back

“It’s not easy, many players don’t play, and I’ve said many times this this is the toughest period,” Pep added.

“It’s the toughest situation. For example, Vinny (Kompany) didn’t play in the last game but in training you see him, and he deserves to play.

Nico Otamendi was the most important central defender for us last season and when we achieved 100 points that was because of Nico.

“Now, this season he is playing less, and it is what it is. When Sane plays he has to play good, it’s the same with Raheem.”

CITYZENS: SCORE PREDICTOR - Score Predictor_Man City vs Watford_O18


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