‘This was the hardest one… we will always remember this season’: Pep Guardiola hails toughest title of his career after Manchester City lift third Premier League crown in four years
- Manchester City overcame a sluggish start with 15 consecutive league victories
- Leicester’s victory at Manchester United rubberstamped City as champions
- Guardiola paid tribute to a ‘special’ group of players after title triumph
- City have chance to make history by winning the Champions League final
Pep Guardiola has described this title win as the toughest of his career after Manchester City lifted a third Premier League crown in four years.
Leicester City’s 2-1 victory at Manchester United rubberstamped City as champions with three matches remaining.
After a sluggish start, Guardiola masterminded a run of 15 consecutive league victories to take charge of the division and never looked back.
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has claimed the Premier League title for third time
City have now won five of the last 10 league titles and victory over Chelsea in the Champions League final on May 29 would cement this season as the best in the club’s history.
‘This has been a season and a Premier League title like no other,’ Guardiola said. ‘This was the hardest one. We will always remember this season for the way that we won.
‘I am so proud to be the manager here and of this group of players. They are so special. To come through this season – with all the restrictions and difficulties we’ve faced – and show the consistency we have is remarkable.
Man City unfurled a ‘Champions’ banner outside the Etihad after United’s defeat by Leicester
‘It is relentless. Every single day, they are there, fighting for success, trying always to be better. They have been so, so resilient.
‘That is equally true of each and every member of our backroom staff, who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that our players are fully equipped to take on the unexpected challenges and new routines throughout such a turbulent year. Not forgetting, of course, all of the staff across our organisation who work to make this club the success it is.
‘Whether that’s been from the offices at the City Football Academy or working from home, the efforts of every employee in such trying circumstances have contributed to this achievement.’
Guardiola also paid tribute to one of the club’s finest players of all time, Colin Bell, who passed away in January. Bell won the old First Division with City in 1968, as well as both domestic trophies and the Cup Winners’ Cup during a 13-year stay at Maine Road.
City have been impressive this season and have now won the League Cup and Premier League
‘This one is really for our fans and for Colin Bell and all his family,’ the Catalan added. ‘It is so important to say a huge thank to all our fans. In our toughest moments, we couldn’t hear the crowd get behind us as usual, but we know they are with us everywhere we go and that has lifted us.
‘I promise them we sense their love, we appreciate it and we could not have done what we have done without it. I hope we can all celebrate together one day not too far away. It has been such a hard year for so many people.
‘At the start of every season, the Premier League is the most important title for us. This is the one where you have to be there every three days, playing all your rivals home and away. Only by being the very best, week in week out, can you win this competition. It is a huge success.’
In a quirk of fate, yesterday was the second time under Guardiola that City have had a title confirmed by a United home defeat. West Brom won at Old Trafford in 2017, a surprise result that sparked an impromptu night of revelling in Cheshire for the squad.
It’s been a remarkable campaign for the club, who could yet win the Champions League too
City now have the opportunity to make further history in the coming weeks against Chelsea in the European showpiece.
‘Rest assured we will continue to do everything we can to bring the Champions League home this season,’ captain Fernandinho said.
‘I am so proud and so happy with what we have achieved. The Premier League is the hardest league in world football – every single game is tough. To win it again means the world to me and the rest of the squad.
‘To captain this team is an honour and a privilege because the players have given their all throughout season, whether in training or in matches. The teamwork has been amazing.
‘Football is everything to us and we strive every single day to be as good as we can be in the hope we can bring success to Manchester City. Winning the Premier League title is the ultimate fulfilment of our ambitions. It’s what we all dreamed of as young players, so to do it is a wonderful feeling.
‘We have missed the fans so much. We wanted to do this for them. We will enjoy this moment and we hope the fans do too.’
Raheem Sterling leads the celebrations after City are confirmed as Premier League champions
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