May 12 – Manchester City were crowned champions of England on Tuesday after cross-town rivals Manchester United’s 2-1 defeat at the hands of Leicester City. City boss Guardiola dubbed his third title in four years “the hardest one” yet.
“This has been a season and a Premier League title like no other,” said Guardiola. “This was the hardest one. We will always remember this season for the way that we won. I am so proud to be the manager here and of this group of players. They are so special. To come through this season – with all the restrictions and difficulties we’ve faced – and show the consistency we have is remarkable. It is relentless. Every single day, they are there, fighting for success, trying always to be better. They have been so, so resilient.”
Having lifted the Carabao Cup earlier this year, City remain in contention to win a treble with the club’s season culminating on May 29 in their first ever Champions League final.
They will face Chelsea in an all-English showpiece match, but Guardiola has good reason to hail the domestic crown as a great feat in a season that his coaching credentials were doubted yet again. Last season, City finished 18 points behind Liverpool and fans, media and observers wondered whether he could rejuvenate his team.
The Spaniard did just that after an early-season slump attributed to a lack of energy from his players. Guardiola responded by going back to basics and allowed his players to breathe, scaling back City’s trademark high-octane, pressing game.
His approach paid off and a run of 15 consecutive league wins propelled the team, with the best defensive numbers in league, to a new title and the prospect of hegemony over the Premier League. Ruben Dias, Ilker Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne were the standout performers for City and the emergence of Phil Foden, who first stared for England at the 2017 U-17 World Cup in India, will leave Guardiola optimistic that his team can cement their dominance of the English game in the future.
Guardiola added: “At the start of every season, the Premier League is the most important title for us. This is the one where you have to be there every three days, playing all your rivals home and away. Only by being the very best, week in week out, can you win this competition. It is a huge success.
“It is so important to say a huge thank you to all our fans. In our toughest moments, we couldn’t hear the crowd get behind us as usual, but we know they are with us everywhere we go and that has lifted us. I promise them we sense their love, we appreciate it and we could not have done what we have done without it. I hope we can all celebrate together one day not too far away. It has been such a hard year for so many people. This one is really for our fans and for Colin Bell and all his family.”
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1635167761labto1635167761ofdlr1635167761owedi1635167761sni@o1635167761fni1635167761