City 'are the best': Guardiola's heroes on course for title repeat after derby success

Sports | Apr 26, 2019
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made no attempt to disguise the gulf in quality between his team and Manchester City, describing Pep Guardiola's side as "the best team in the country" after they won 2-0 at Old Trafford.

"They have set the standard in the last two seasons," Solskjaer said. "What Pep Guardiola has done with his players is remarkable and we are so close to it, in the vicinity so we feel it every day."

Solskjaer had demanded his players react to their 4-0 loss to Everton on Sunday and United did begin the match with aggression, battling hard until City went ahead through Bernardo Silva in the 54th minute and Leroy Sane added a second a few minutes later.

City cannot match their record 100 points tally in romping to the title last season, but victories over Burnley, Leicester and Brighton will clinch the title on 98 points and ensure Liverpool's 29-year wait to win the league continues despite already posting a club record points tally in the Premier League era. Guardiola's men are on 89 points, one clear of Liverpool at the top of the table.

"We increased the level for the Premier League last season with 100 points. That's the level Liverpool are chasing. What they have done is incredible but it's in our hands," said Guardiola. "Both teams deserve the title. But it can be just one. The team that is going to lose can't have regrets because they have given everything."

He warned of the tight turnaround before a very different type of test at Burnley on Sunday.

"Normally with this kind of victory you can it enjoy it the most but we have to be calm," added Guardiola. "Now we go to Burnley and we know how tough it will be. It's important to be calm. We are still not champions."

United have lost seven of their last nine games in all competitions, a run of form which contrasts markedly with the positive start to Solskjaer's reign in December. A Champions League spot remains within their grasp, however, with United sat in sixth place, three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, who they play on Sunday.

"We got a reaction and in the end we were beaten by a better team ... You can see the workrate was there, it wasn't good enough though," said Solskjaer of his side's display following a 4-0 loss to Everton.

"The players wanted to show they really care. The first half was positive.

"Unfortunately, we conceded two sloppy goals in the second half that could have been avoided. Everyone can see what City have done over the last few years.

"There is a difference in quality. That is why they are top and we are where we are. They have set the standard. Living in Manchester we cannot be happy with that. It is up to us to close that gap and overtake them."

Arsenal manager Unai Emery, meanwhile, refused to give up on his side's Champions League hopes after they were beaten 3-1 by Wolves at Molineux.

"I am angry with myself that we didn't do the gameplan we wanted - not with the players," said Emery, whose side are one point behind Chelsea.


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May 2019