Pep Guardiola reminded Manchester City that the Premier League title is “in our hands” after they emerged from a potentially difficult assignment at Leeds with a 4-0 win that keeps them a point ahead of Liverpool.
Four wins from four will ensure that, despite the colossal efforts of Jürgen Klopp’s side, City retain the trophy they won last year and Guardiola laid out the task in simple terms. “It’s in our hands,” he said. “Newcastle, Wolves, West Ham and Aston Villa. We have known exactly what we have to do for a month and a half, two months. If we win, we will be champions. If we drop points, [Liverpool] will be champions.”
Neither title contender has dropped a point since they drew 2-2 at the Etihad on 10 April and Guardiola says he expects Liverpool, who were able to watch City having already won at Newcastle, to collect maximum points. “It’s not complicated to analyse. Whether they’re playing before [us] or later, they’re going to win.”
City were not at full throttle for the first hour against opponents who did not let them settle. “I think the result looks more comfortable than it really was but I could not expect differently,” said Guardiola, whose delight at the outcome was especially pronounced given the precarious placement of this fixture between City’s Champions League semi-final matches against Real Madrid.
“Coming here, the way they play, we suffered a lot in the first half. But in the end we had control and could have scored more. An incredible result for us.”
The Leeds head coach Jesse Marsch, whose side are five points above 18th-placed Everton but have played two games more, was happy to agree that the result did not reflect proceedings. “It wasn’t a 4-0 match and I was prepared to say [the same] at 3-0,” he said. “We had control of many parts of the match so I’m really proud of the guys.”