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Pep thought title chance was lost

JUST CHAMPION: Pep Guardiola salutes the City fans at Brighton.

JUST CHAMPION: Pep Guardiola salutes the City fans at Brighton.

It was a season of twists, turns, highs and lows, which ultimately ended in a jubilant fashion, but Pep Guardiola has revealed there was point at which he feared Manchester City’s title chances were over.

A 2-1 defeat to Newcastle United on 29 January was the cause of the Catalan’s concern.

It left his side four points adrift of  Liverpool, who had the opportunity to extend their lead at the top of the table against Leicester City the following day.

A 1-1 draw limited the damage of City’s loss at St James’ Park and Guardiola breathed a sigh of relief.

“Right after the game in the locker room [we thought it was over],” admitted the boss.

“The next day Liverpool played at home against Leicester and they had won an incredible amount of games. Right after, it was over, it was difficult to recover.

“The fact they didn’t win meant we were still there. Still we were alive.

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“The fact that we played most of our games after Liverpool, and the fact we knew we couldn’t drop points. Sometimes it’s easy to prepare the mental approach of the players.

“Everyone was convinced that the only chance we had to win to was to win every single game.

“Everybody knew it. Win, or we are out. And that sometimes helps. You know what you have to do."

Something else which helps Guardiola is his relationship with Director of Football, Txiki Begiristain.

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The partnership has proven to be a recipe for success and Guardiola is eternally grateful for the support of a man he considers a colleague and friend.

“I think Txiki is the most important person in my career as a manager,” he explained.

“Now maybe it’s easy to trust me, but when I wasn’t anyone as a manager, he trusted me. Without that I wouldn’t be here.

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“He is incredible person and nothing that’s happened in my career would have happened without him.

“When we talk about football we are on the same page and that’s why it is easy.”

2018/19 was a momentous campaign for the Club and sparked wonderful celebrations between fans and players at May’s champions parade.

The city centre was a sea of blue as fans showed their appreciation for their heroes and such support leads Pep to declare England as the best country for a manger to work in.

“There is no better place to play or do you job as a manager than here in England,” he added.

“Here the fans always support you. I remember my first year was difficult, the people support you.

“It is the ideal place to work, especially here. I felt in that in the first season when we didn’t win the title, how they supported me.

“I don’t forget that.”

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