Pep Guardiola admitted that Manchester City face challenges in the Premier League title race, claiming that “Liverpool are better” than his team in performance.
Despite recent struggles, the reigning champions managed to secure consecutive victories in late December, propelling them to third position in the league standings.
Currently, they trail behind Liverpool and Aston Villa by two points. However, considering they have played one less game than Unai Emery’s Villa, they still have a chance to reclaim a higher position.
Should Arsenal manage to avoid a loss against Fulham on New Year’s Eve, Guardiola’s side would slip to fourth place.
Guardiola’s plan for Manchester City is to clinch a historic fourth consecutive Premier League title. Nevertheless, he recognises that as of now, Liverpool hold a better position to potentially lead the table by May.
“[The title race is] so tight – we’re not top of the league, Liverpool are better,” Guardiola told BBC’s Match of the Day after Saturday’s 2-0 win at home to Sheffield United.
“We’ve had injuries and some problems, we won the titles, important ones, our level is really good I would say and we are there. Now rest, we all need it. January is less intense than November and December so we prepare for what’s next.”
In the final match of 2023, Manchester City defeated the Blades with goals from Rodri and Julian Alvarez. This victory marks their fourth consecutive win across all competitions. Despite this positive streak, Manchester City continues to await the return of Erling Haaland from his injury.
Kevin De Bruyne made a significant return to the matchday squad for the first time since August. Although he did not play on Saturday, Guardiola expressed gratitude for having De Bruyne as an option for selection once more.
“The standing ovation when he was warming up tells me the people want him back. It was a long injury for all of us but we’re happy he’s back,” Guardiola said.