Pep Guardiola says the focus is on the Champions League final for Manchester City after his players had the opportunity to enjoy “perfect” Premier League title celebrations.
The Spaniard reclaimed the Premier League title, his third English top-flight crown as City boss, following Manchester United’s defeat by Leicester City on Tuesday.
City accelerated to the title with an outstanding 21-game winning streak in all competitions which opened up a large gap over their rivals in the league and helped them collect their eighth major trophy under Guardiola.
The 50-year-old says his team, who won the Carabao Cup last month, earned some deserved Covid-secure party time at their training complex after their second domestic triumph this term, but Guardiola has warned there can be no time for resting with three league games left and a Champions League final date with Chelsea on May 29.
He told Sky Sports News: “The night was nice when we were champions and Leicester won at Old Trafford. We had a celebration here in our bubble at the training centre, we drank, we danced, we laughed.
“We have good guys in the backroom staff who created a good environment in the party so we celebrated that night it was perfect and the day after, back to business.
“I told my players to celebrate but to stay focused on the three Premier League games and in every training session.
- 2008-12: Barcelona – 14 major trophies, including treble in first year
- 2012-13: Sabbatical in New York
- 2013-2016: Bayern Munich – Seven major trophies
- 2016-present: Manchester City – Eight major trophies (3x Premier League, 4x League Cup, 1x FA Cup)
“We do what we have to do because it is the best way to prepare for the final of the Champions League, and after we have the final we will take a break and find the best way to think about next season.”
City made their way to their first Champions League final, which is now to be played in Porto with 6,000 of theirs and Chelsea’s fans allowed to attend the game at the Estadio do Dragao, thanks to an impressive 4-1 aggregate win over last year’s finalists Paris Saint-Germain.
With games against Newcastle (May 14), Brighton (May 18), and Everton (May 23) to end the relentless Premier League campaign, Guardiola says despite having already won the league, the matches give a chance for his side to remain “competitive” with their challenge for the treble still on.
“I think all of them want to play in the final of the Champions League,” he added.
“If they want to play in the final of the Champions League they have to train well and play well, it is the only chance they have to be competitive [rather than] if we just played these three [remaining] Premier League games.
“But having the Champions League final there a little more than two weeks away, everyone will be focused.
“There’s no time to rest. Now we have four or five days between games, so now with the selection, I don’t know what I’m going to do, honestly, but I’m going to think about winning the next game we are going to play and then the Chelsea game.”
‘Three titles for Man City teams in 2020/21 a credit to the academy’
In a season of firsts, City are also the first team to have won the Premier League 2 and U18 divisions with their development sides, along with a senior Premier League triumph.
Guardiola has credited the club’s three league wins to the work of backroom staff in the academy, who have helped nurture talented homegrown players like Phil Foden and the City boss believes the teams can do even better next season.
“I would say that shows how good they are working in the academy at Manchester City,” Guardiola said.
“Phil Foden has the same values for the fact that they give him the opportunity to play with the scouting department from seven, eight, nine years old to pick him up before I could enjoy [having] him as a player in the first team, so it’s a process.
“The academy team won the north league and Enzo Maresca (City’s Premier League 2 side manager) will become a top-class manager here and all around the world, these players are better now than they were at the start of the season and it’s a big success.
“Three champions in these leagues means we are working in a good way. It is a moment we enjoy but we can do better.”
City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne is set to miss the Premier League trip to Newcastle on Friday, live on Sky Sports. The Belgian playmaker missed last weekend’s loss to Chelsea due to muscle fatigue.
Watch Newcastle vs Man City live on Sky Sports Premier League and Main Event from 7.30pm on Friday – kick-off 8pm