EPL

Guardiola enjoys title taste again as he hails Man City's 'massive' success

By Sports Desk May 13, 2021

Pep Guardiola savoured his latest slice of success with Manchester City as the Premier League champions tucked into late-night pizza.

Now Guardiola is targeting the Champions League for dessert, having clinched the trophy he regarded as the most important for the club.

City were able to celebrate on Tuesday evening after Leicester City won at Manchester United, a result across the city that was the cue for a party at the Etihad Stadium.

"It was so nice," Guardiola said. "Normally the unexpected parties are the nicest ones.

"After Leicester won at Old Trafford, all together we came here in our bubble, everybody safe.

"We drank a little bit, we danced, we hugged a lot, and we remembered how good it was, and especially at around 11.30-12 arrived 10-15 pizzas and that was the best moment of the night.

"I was not in my perfect conditions to decide which one I ate. Here in England the party's just alcohol, it's not food, I don't understand why."

Guardiola said City's league title, his third in five years since arriving at the club, was further confirmation of the strides the club have taken over the past decade.

"In the last 10 years we've won five, the last eight we've won four, the last five we've won three," Guardiola said. "That's incredible. That is more important than winning this title.

"It's massive and it means a lot of managers, top players, sports directors, many people working to achieve what we've achieved.

"We sustained the success and work ethic ... to win three in the last five years I never expected it when i arrived."

Guardiola predicted a Liverpool revival next season and said Arsenal would "make a step forward", describing City's march to the 2020-21 championship as "a massive achievement".

He thanked chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak for showing faith in him, even when City were showing rocky form early this season. Guardiola signed a new contract in November, since when the team have been almost unstoppable.

They tackle Chelsea in the Champions League final in Porto on May 29, with that the one major trophy that City still long to win.

"The culture of the manager is so volatile: if you don't win, you'll get the sack," said Guardiola.

"Of course the players trust you, especially if you win. Given what we have done so far in the recent past, if you start to lose they start to believe or they start to doubt to believe

"The best way to convince them is to try to win games.

"Personally there is a special gratitude of course to my sporting director Txixi [Begiristain], he's a friend of mine, and especially Khaldoon.

"I travelled to see him in November and we had long discussions together and he convinced me we still have a lot of work to do.

"I trust him a lot. Part of my happiness here and the success we've had has been because of his determination to convince me.

"That is the big difference what I found when I had the feelings sometimes in other clubs. I've always been supported at Bayern Munich and Barcelona, [but] I've had the feeling that the manager would only be supported when he has success."

Speaking ahead of Friday night's Premier League clash with Newcastle United, Guardiola added: "I cannot forget in my first season here when I didn't win anything, the behaviour of my chairman, and I cannot forget the big disappointment personally against Lyon the support I had from my chairman. That's why he is part of our success.

"Now we have two weeks ahead of us and a dream come true to play in the final of the Champions League

"And the show must go on next season. So we're going to try to be strong next season."

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    Roberto Mancini's Italy opened the rescheduled European Championship with a commanding 3-0 victory over Turkey in Rome on Friday.

    Italy – enjoying a resurgence under head coach Mancini following their failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup – are in the midst of a 28-match unbeaten streak as they prepare for Wednesday's clash with Switzerland in the Italian capital.

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    "We know we can do it, but we need to keep our feet on the ground and work together, focused on the target, in every game. That's the only way we can reach the final."

    Italy have lost only one of their 24 games against Switzerland on Italian soil (W18 D5) – a friendly defeat at the Stadio Olimpico in 1982, in what was the country's first game after being crowned world champions three months prior.

    Victory will see Italy become the first team to reach the knockout stages of Euro 2020. However, the Italians have won both of their opening two matches in just two of their nine previous appearances at the European Championship, doing so in 2000 and 2016.

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    But the Barcelona great's Copa America performances against Chile prior to Monday's curtain-raising clash were not entirely out of keeping with the rest of his Argentina career.

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    Lautaro Martinez is supposed to be the face of a young, new team. He had 11 goals in 23 prior internationals and should have added to that tally more than once in Rio de Janeiro.

    The Inter forward failed to hit the target with any of his three attempts and optimistically appealed for a foul following two of them when he inexplicably missed from point-blank range.

    And Martinez's frustration unfortunately came to the fore after 62 minutes when he lunged into an awful challenge on Charles Aranguiz under the nose of the referee and escaped with a booking.

    The 23-year-old's evening might have ended early with a red card. Instead, it was cut short by the introduction of Sergio Aguero.

    Chile had equalised five minutes prior to Martinez's moment of madness, one of a series of rash attempted tackles punished as a VAR review found Nicolas Tagliafico had made contact with Arturo Vidal in the area.

    Vidal took the penalty and Emiliano Martinez turned it onto the crossbar, but Eduardo Vargas was on hand to nod in his 13th Copa America goal – staying three clear of Messi and climbing into the top 10 all-time.

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    In each Chile final, Di Maria started. Aguero was introduced from the bench in one and in the XI for the other.

    As on those occasions, there were no heroics from either on Monday. Di Maria, now 33, had two shots but neither troubled Bravo. Aguero, also 33, was caught offside once.

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