Pep Guardiola feels Manchester City need to win all six of their remaining fixtures to take the title and hailed to importance of ‘special’ Kevin de Bruyne.
The Citizens moved back to the top of the table after a 3-0 triumph over Brighton at the Etihad. After a goalless first half, Riyad Mahrez opened the scoring with a deflected effort on 53 minutes. Phil Foden doubled the home side’s advantage on 65 minutes.
His shot also took a deflection but Bernardo Silva’s third was a thing of beauty. The Portugal star’s curled effort gave Robert Sanchez no chance and put the seal on the win.
It was not a vintage City display, with the Seagulls a tough nut to crack. They were disciplined, especially during the opening 45 minutes.
And Guardiola was delighted with the way his charges responded.
“It was a good test and we behaved exceptional. That is why we won the game,” he told BBC Sport. “We didn’t let them play. Brighton have this quality. In the second half we found the goals that we could not find in the first half.”
Although he did not get in the score sheet, De Bruyne was superb throughout the match. And Guardiola knows how vital the Belgian is to the club’s cause.
“What a signing. The club sign him before I come here so a big congratulations to the club,” he added. “A special player and human being. When fit and happy mentally like all of us and is fit to show his potential he is unstoppable in that position, in transition especially. He is playing the last part of this season amazingly.”
Guardiola staying grounded
Manchester City have now moved back to the top of the standings, with 77 points to their name. Liverpool are one point behind and it looks set to go right to the wire.
City hold all the aces but Guardiola is taking nothing for granted.
“The feeling today is that we are now mathematically going to play in the Champions League,” he added. “People can say it is normal but it is not. You only have to look at the incredible teams fighting to get into the Champions League.
“Now for the Premier League, we are not stupid. If we drop just two points, Liverpool will be champions.
“If we win all games we will be champions. The players know it. We know the tough games we have and we must try to perform like today and win all the games. If we do that we will celebrate, if not we will congratulate Liverpool.”