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Opinion

Pep Guardiola gets it half right…

1 week ago
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Pep Guardiola saw his team return to form on Sunday.

Assisted by some poor defending, Manchester City 2-0 up and the game won by half-time.

Cruise control in the second half and three more goals, two in the very final stages, boosting their goal difference to a four goal advantage over Liverpool, as well as the three point lead now, both having three matches remaining.

Back in April, it was a case of Manchester City going for the treble (PL, CL and FA Cup) and Liverpool going for the quadruple (PL, CL, FA Cup and League Cup).

As things stand today, that dream still lives on for Liverpool but the pressure on Pep Guardiola to make sure of this final chance to win a trophy this season.

Maybe that bit of added pressure after exits to Liverpool (FA Cup semis) and Real Madrid (Champions League semis) led to Pep Guardiola choosing to go down a strange route after hammering Newcastle United.

The Man City boss declaring ‘Everyone in this country supports Liverpool, the media and everyone…I don’t care if the people want Liverpool to win more than us, it is not an issue.’

How bizarre, if ‘it is not an issue’ why bring it up, when nobody was asking the question?

The thing is anyway, Pep Guardiola is only half right on this.

Yes there is certainly a bit of a media love-in with Liverpool.

However, when it comes to who the average fan of another club wants to win the Premier League between Man City and Liverpool, or in reality, who they least want to win the title…then I would say a very clear majority would prefer Guardiola’s team compared to Klopp’s. Especially if this ends up the only way to prevent Liverpool winning this quadruple, as we’d never hear the least of it from the media!

For the vast majority of football fans, especially those of us who grew up in the 60s, 70s and 80s, I think it is a toss up between who you least want to win stuff, Liverpool or Man Utd. These were the two clubs that the overwhelming majority of glory hunters were drawn to.

That is massively still the case now I think, whilst the likes of Chelsea and Man City have had somebody come along and buy them loads of trophies, neither of them have been particularly successful in attracting mass glory hunter support, or at least certainly not ones who are willing to travel and pay to watch them in the flesh.

Pep Guardiola speaking after Manchester City 5 Newcastle 0:

“Everyone in this country supports Liverpool, the media and everyone.

“Of course, because Liverpool has an incredible history in European competition, not in the Premier League – because they have won one (Premier League title) in 30 years, but it is not a problem at all.

“Liverpool are alongside Manchester United as the most important team in terms of titles, legacy, history, dramas, for many, many things…but we have, since the last 11 or 12 years, been there.

“I know sometimes we are uncomfortable but I don’t care if the people want Liverpool to win more than us, it is not an issue.”

The Premier League title in sight:

“We have to do nine points or maybe six (to win the Premier League in the final three games), it depends what is going to happen in the next two games in terms of goal difference, but now Wednesday (away at Wolves) is the real, real, real final for us.

“Our destiny is in our hands and this is important.

“Ruben (Dias), Kyle (Walker) and John (Stones) are out until the end of the season.

“If Rodri has to play in that position, it is not a problem, or if we have to play someone from the Academy. We have 13 players available for these games, no more than that, plus Academy (players).

“When we do that, everyone has to do more to help our absences and the problems we have.

“It is what it is.

“We arrive with problems and today we had three defenders in the second half.

“Fernandinho played well against Callum Wilson.

“That is what we have to do.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Manchester City 5 Newcastle 0 – Sunday 8 May 4.30pm

Goals:

Man City:

Sterling 19, 90+3, Laporte 38, Rodri 61, Foden 90

Newcastle:

(Half-time stats in brackets)

Possession was Man City 71% (68%) Newcastle 29% (32%)

Total shots were Man City 21 (10) Newcastle 7 (2)

Shots on target were Man City 9 (5) Newcastle 3 (1)

Corners were Man City 8 (4) Newcastle 2 (1)

Referee: Stuart Attwell

Attendance:  53,336 (Newcastle 3,000)

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Krafth (Trippier 68), Lascelles, Burn, Targett, Guimaraes, Longstaff, Joelinton, Saint-Maximin, Almiron (Murphy 80), Wood (Wilson 68)

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Dummett, Schar, Ritchie, Manquillo, Gayle

(Newcastle v Manchester City player ratings results from NUFC fans – Brutal but fair? Read HERE)

(Three Newcastle United players set to miss the rest of the season – Official NUFC injury update – Read HERE)

(3 Positives and 3 Negatives taken from Manchester City 5 Newcastle 0 – Read HERE)

(Manchester City 5 Newcastle 0 – Match ratings and comments on all the NUFC players – Read HERE)

(Manchester City 5 Newcastle 0 – Instant NUFC fan / writer reaction to Sunday’s defeat – Read HERE)

(Manchester City 5 Newcastle 0 – The three big points that I’m taking from the match – Read HERE)

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