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Guardiola, Klopp talk tough as Premier League title race reaches climax

PEP Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp have turned up the volume of anticipation as their sides battle for the Premier League title.

The league campaign ends tomorrow with Guardiola’s Manchester City just a point ahead of Klopp’s Liverpool in another title race between the two managers.

Guardiola will win his fourth Premier League title in his sixth season in charge if City beat Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium tomorrow, and he is confident his side will deliver.

“I don’t have to tell them, they believe,” Guardiola said during his pre-match press conference, referring to a similar situation in 2019 when City won the title ahead of Klopp’s Liverpool on the final day of the campaign.

“Different opponents… It’s not a similar game, we know what we have to do. Be ourselves, give everything we have to win the game.

“The way we play, we play to win, there are aspects we can’t control. If you want it you can’t control. Something can happen. We have an incredible desire to win, we would be incredibly happy. After one, two, three days, we start again.

“It has to be like that. It’s nice, we have incredible focus to try do it. In the end, the feeling hasn’t changed. We try to be ourselves, do what we need to do. Football is emotional, but its a game. The game means luck, a thousand things you cannot control.

“Before we won the first Premier League title, it would be the most incredible moment of our lives. The day after you feel, ‘Oh’. The day after, the sun rises, and people start to demand more. Satisfaction is there, but after one, two days, it’s forgotten.”

Although Guardiola has won nine league titles as manager at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City as against only two Champions League trophies (both with Barcelona), he insists it is tougher to win domestic leagues.

City were knocked out in the semi-finals of this season’s Champions League by Real Madrid after a dramatic collapse in the final few minutes, while Liverpool are in next Saturday’s final.

“It (the Premier League) is more difficult,” he said. “Lot of weeks, games, injuries, good/bad moments, different situations.

“The success is being there in the last years… Fighting for the Premier League gives the sense you enjoy the locker room.

“I’m not saying the Champions League is not important. We’d love to be in Paris next week. Always, to win 38 games, or six/seven games is different. Always I like it, it’s nice. We are close.

“We’re happier in our lives, when you win and win it makes good training/environment. It’s not just one game like the FA Cup, it’s a consistent team. You want to change different things, experiences. In terms of the Premier League, it’s more every day, it’s nice.”

On his part, Klopp is taking one game at a time as he chases what would be a historic quadruple of Carabao Cup, FA Cup, Premier League and Champions League trophies.

Having already won the first two, he is focused on tomorrow’s Premier League clash at Anfield against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

A win for Liverpool and a draw or defeat for City would add a third trophy to this season’s collection before next week’s Champions League final against Real Madrid in Paris.

“Our minds, our bodies, our everything have to be entirely at Anfield,” Klopp said.
“I know I don’t need to give this team talk to players or supporters because they’ll know their job. Make our home a cauldron of positive energy. Make it fizz. Make it buzz.

“We really feel the responsibility that comes with the talent we have. We expect so much from ourselves because we see our quality. We have to deliver and we’re good, we know that.

“Whatever happens on Sunday, I will not forget that it has been an absolutely fantastic season, so enjoy the journey is what I say.”

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