Pep Guardiola declared that he and his Manchester City side are “legends” after winning a fourth Premier League title in the last five seasons.
City retained their Premier League in extraordinary circumstances after coming from two goals down to beat Aston Villa 3-2 at the Etihad Stadium.
Three goals in five minutes late in the game turned the match – and the title race – on its head as substitute Ilkay Gundogan scored two, either side of Rodri’s strike. Liverpool’s late win over Wolves meant that only victory would have been enough for City.
“The moment we found a goal it changed everything,” Guardiola told Sky Sports.
“We are playing in not normal circumstances but you have to handle it.
“Gundogan is the best inside runner we have. We were arriving down the sides and we needed a player with the sense of tempo in the box and he’s the best.
“We are legends. When you win the Premier League four times in five seasons it’s because these guys are so, so special. We will be remembered. The first title we won with lots of margin, then at Brighton, then winning at home without fans and now with people, it’s the best.
“The magnitude of your achievement is defined by the magnitude of your rival. I’ve never seen a team like Liverpool. I know it’s tough but a huge congratulations to them. They help us to be a better team.
“Today is special as it’s the fifth anniversary of the Manchester arena attack when 22 people were killed. This is for the families. Today was special.”
Guardiola on Liverpool not being losers
Guardiola added in his press conference: “Jurgen Klopp said a few days ago that there are few winners but a lot of triers. I love this concept. I am a good trier, that is for sure. Am I going to say that Liverpool are losers after what they have done in the Premier League over the recent years?
“One team was a little, little, little, one inch better than them, but they are winners. Of course, society says there is just one who is first and the rest they are a disaster. That is giving an incredibly wrong message to the new generation, the kids.
“You have to be a good trier, do it every time, never give up. Both teams – Liverpool and ourselves – have done that in the last five years.
“Before you had to get 82 or 83 points, now you have to get 90, in this league, this country, with these teams against these managers and these players. It is quite remarkable.
“It is more difficult because of the opponent. How big is your rival? How big it is, your victory is higher. Nobody in this country can doubt that.
“Liverpool won the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup on penalties, it is the same. Chelsea are the losers? No, they are not. They are not. But we just praise the other one.
“The team is incredibly proud but we could have lost the Premier League today. We were closer to losing it than winning it. But my opinion of my players is exactly the same as it was in Madrid. The same.”
Manchester City captain Fernandinho is leaving the club at the end of the season and says his time at the champions has been a “beautiful journey”.
“It’s a really emotional day for me,” he told Sky Sports. “I am so grateful for City. It was a really nice experience for me – a beautiful journey and for sure they will always be in my heart.”
On winning the title in dramatic circumstances again, he said: “An amazing feeling. It was not easy at 2-0 down at home. We were a little bit nervous, and struggled a bit to find the spaces.
“We had so many set-pieces but it was not enough to score a goal. They scored the first goal but at the end, Kevin, Gundo and Rodri, they made the difference for us.
“We never give up. We always believe until the end. Ten years ago and today a little bit different but also similar.”
The Pep effect
- Guardiola has won the title in 10 of his 13 seasons as a top-flight manager across spells in charge of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City.
- Guardiola is only the eighth man to win as many as four English top-flight titles, while only Alex Ferguson (13) has ever won more Premier League titles than the Spaniard.
- Since his first season in charge of a top-flight club in 2008-09, Pep Guardiola has won more top-flight titles across the big-five leagues in Europe (Premier League, Ligue 1, Bundesliga, Serie A, LaLiga) than any other manager (10).