The back-to-back offer feels better than ever for Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City are in a better place to win a third consecutive Premier League title than last time they won back-to-back titles.

The Etihad Stadium side have been the dominant side in English football since the Catalans took over, with a third-place finish in their debut season followed by four league titles in five seasons.

Liverpool are the only side to have won the title in that period, with Jurgen Klopp’s men finishing 2019-20 18 points ahead of second-placed City.

Pep Guardiola is a four-time Premier League winner with Manchester City (Zac Goodwin/PA)

(PA wire)

After winning the league in 2017-18 and 2018-19 there has been a significant early demise, with Guardiola confident they are now in better headspace to go three straight games.

“I think we’ve been pretty consistent in those five games,” the City boss said after winning four and drawing the other early in the campaign.

“We were pretty consistent in America too, in the pre-season against Bayern Munich. We don’t change our patterns much.

“When we talk, it’s (doing) the same thing, the same thing. That gives the team confidence and helps. It feels good. However, it is only five Premier League games.

“After back-to-back Premier League titles I said I wanted to look at how people come back pre-season, how they start games because the third season after two games in a row was really bad, how we started. Liverpool were flying and we couldn’t catch them.

“I was curious about the smell in the training sessions and in the preparation this year. From day one I like what I saw.

“We’ve got to try and keep going because if you relax a little in this league, I know what’s going to happen.

“The big mistake for tomorrow is thinking ‘Ah Aston Villa’ and then not starting well. Big mistake for us.”

Guardiola has been impressed with what he’s seen in terms of the group’s mentality on and off the pitch.

That feeling was reinforced by their second-half comeback in last weekend’s 4-2 win over Crystal Palace, as well as Wednesday’s 6-0 win over newly promoted Nottingham Forest.

“We have to continue that,” said Guardiola. “Our duty is to leave for 11 months.

“It doesn’t matter what happened in the past, it’s about doing our job. That’s why we’ve been successful in the past.

“We said after Forest that we made our people happy, the 55,000 who came here. They went home and said the 90 minutes had been nice.

“Talking about titles is ridiculous, it’s about Forest. We had fun, the fans had fun. We felt it. People forgot about Villa last season, we have to do our job.”

Steven Gerrard’s side face the unenviable task of stopping City on Saturday night, with Erling Haaland certainly licking his lips at the prospect of facing a side with three straight losses.

The 22-year-old summer signing has exceeded expectations since arriving, scoring hat-tricks against Palace and Forest to take his tally to nine goals in five league games.

When asked if people now have unrealistic expectations of Haaland, Guardiola said: “Yes. People can expect it, it’s nice, it’s good. I’d prefer that, I want him to expect it too.

Erling Haaland has got off to a flying start in his City career (Nick Potts/PA)

(PA wire)

“I like that he wants to score three goals every game, but that’s not going to happen.

“I know it’s not going to happen, everyone in the world of football knows it’s not going to happen. If it doesn’t happen, OK, it doesn’t happen. What’s next? We’ll try to do better next time.

“But the expectation is there because the numbers are incredible for this guy in his career. He’s scored nine goals in five games and that’s really good.

“But what counts is not the perfect start. The perfect start is Arsenal’s but we are there, close and the feeling is we are playing well and will continue to do so.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/pep-guardiola-manchester-city-premier-league-etihad-stadium-english-b2158778.html The back-to-back offer feels better than ever for Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola

Fry Electronics Team

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