In Depth

‘We’re still not champions’: Pep Guardiola urges Man City to keep calm in title race

City win the Manchester derby to go back to the top of the Premier League

Premier League Manchester United 0 Manchester City 2

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has urged his players to keep calm and carry on as they close in on the Premier League title.

A 2-0 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford moved City back to the top of the table, a point clear of Liverpool with both clubs having three games left of the campaign.

“We’re still not champions,” said Guardiola, whose side travel to Burnley on Sunday.

“I told the players don’t read tomorrow, don’t watch the television, just rest and sleep a lot. We go to Burnley and we know how tough it will be. It’s important to be calm.”

Don’t panic

City didn’t panic against United, growing into the game against a side who in contrast to the composure of their “noisy neighbours” looked disjointed and, at times, dispirited.

No one is undergoing a crisis of confidence in the United squad more than David de Gea, and the goalkeeper was at fault for both of City’s goals.

First the Spaniard left his near post unguarded to allow Bernardo Silva to fire home a low drive on 54 minutes, and then Leroy Sane’s innocuous strike went straight through his defences 12 minutes later.

United failed to muster much in the way of creativity and after the 4-0 thrashing at Everton last weekend they have now conceded six and scored none in their last two league games.

How the City fans rubbed it in, chanting “the wheels are falling off” to their departing counterparts as Old Trafford emptied in the final few minutes.

Fight for the top four

The only crumb of comfort for United on a wretched night is the fact that Arsenal are in a similar slump.

The Gunners lost for the third time in four league matches, this time a 3-1 defeat at Wolves, and that means United are still in with a shout of finishing in the top four.

Currently sixth on 64 points, they are two behind Arsenal and three behind Chelsea, who are also struggling for form of late. On Sunday United host Chelsea at Old Trafford while Arsenal travel to Leicester. 

Admitting that his side had been “sloppy” in how they conceded the two goals to City, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer outlined what he expects from his squad going forward.

“We have to work harder,” he said. “The first day of pre-season is going to be a big one and we will see who has looked after themselves in the summer.”

Treble still on

As for City, the domestic treble is one step closer, with Sunday’s visit to Burnley followed by matches against Leicester and Brighton.

The title will be theirs if they win all three, and all Liverpool can do is focus on beating Huddersfield, Newcastle and Wolves and hope that City slip up in the next three weeks.

“Both teams deserve the title, but it can be just one,” said Guardiola, in response to a question about the title race.

“Liverpool are chasing. What they have done is incredible, but it’s in our hands… the team that is going to lose can’t have regrets because they have given everything.”

Premier League fixtures and TV guide

Friday 26 April
  • Liverpool vs. Huddersfield Town (8pm, live on Sky Sports)
Saturday 27 April (3pm unless stated)
  • Tottenham Hotspur vs. West Ham United (12.30pm, live on Sky Sports) 
  • Crystal Palace vs. Everton 
  • Fulham vs. Cardiff City 
  • Southampton vs. AFC Bournemouth 
  • Watford vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers 
  • Brighton and Hove Albion vs. Newcastle United (5.30pm, live on BT Sport
Sunday 28 April
  • Leicester City vs. Arsenal (12pm, live on Sky Sports) 
  • Burnley vs. Manchester City (2.05pm, live on Sky Sports) 
  • Manchester United vs. Chelsea (4.30pm, live on Sky Sports)

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