Lionel Messi has joked that Pep Guardiola "did football a lot of harm" with his revolutionary approach at Barcelona, describing the now-Manchester City boss as the best coach he has worked with.

Guardiola led Barca to 14 major trophies during an incredible four-year spell with the club between 2008 and 2012, including three league titles and two Champions Leagues.

In the decade since Guardiola left Camp Nou, Messi has only lifted Europe's foremost club prize on one occasion (in the 2014-15 season), while the City boss has yet to repeat his continental heroics with Barca.

However, Messi is in no doubt as to Guardiola's place as the best coach he has worked with and believes others' desire to emulate him damaged the game.

Asked by Movistar whether Guardiola is the best coach he has played under, Messi said: "Without a doubt. 

"He has something special, above all how he watched and prepared for matches and how he communicates, because of how he transmitted it to you.

"Guardiola did football a lot of harm, because he made it look so easy and so simple that everyone wanted to copy him. 

"Later I found many 'Guardiolas' out there, and you realise what we did and what that was."

Messi warmed up for his fifth World Cup campaign with Argentina by starting Paris Saint-Germain's 5-0 thrashing of Auxerre on Sunday, having recovered after suffering from inflammation in his Achilles tendon last week.

Pep Guardiola believes he would struggle to find a better club than Manchester City, but he still will not discuss his long-term future at the Etihad Stadium.

The Spaniard's contract with the Premier League champions expires at the end of this campaign, by which point he will have had seven years at the helm.

In that period, he has four league titles, four EFL Cups and one FA Cup, although the Champions League crown he was brought in to help secure continues to elude him.

Guardiola's stay at City now matches the time he spent at former clubs Barcelona and Bayern Munich combined, and he acknowledges his working conditions could hardly be better.

"[Would I] stay in another place for seven years? No, I don't think so," he told The Athletic. "It is difficult to find what I have here as a manager.

"To be a manager for a long time, you need to be so supported. The results help a lot, that is undeniable. In this world, they sack you, they fire you, we know that.

"But at big clubs, part of the success of the manager is the chairman, the sporting director especially, the CEOs and all the people here.

"It goes to the media, fans and players. There is stability. This is why I think only in few clubs this can happen."

With the club season set to take a hiatus for the World Cup imminently, City could move to tie Guardiola down to a new long-term deal.

The manager dodged the question on imminent talks, however, only adding: "I've said many times, I don't talk about that.

"Everything is under control. The decision will be made together with the club the moment it has to be made. When we have time, when the moment we feel it both sides, we take a decision."

Pep Guardiola acknowledged Brentford were worthy victors after Ivan Toney's double condemned Manchester City to a damaging Premier League defeat on Saturday. 

City approached their meeting with Brentford knowing a win would move them – at least temporarily – to the top of the table, but Toney added to his opener with a 98th-minute winner as the Bees clinched a shock victory.

The champions failed to build on Phil Foden's outstanding first-half equaliser despite subjecting Brentford to long spells of pressure, and Guardiola believes the result was a fair one.

"The best team won, the better team won," Guardiola told BT Sport. 

"We struggled a lot from the long balls, direct from [David] Raya up to the striker, and when they lost the ball, they were always behind the ball.

"We had problems up front and we didn't have our rhythm. We had more momentum, but when it was crosses, second balls... we struggled.

"It's difficult, in the small spaces, we need the quality and we struggled. But yeah, they were better, I accept it."

Toney's second strike came after 97 minutes and 16 seconds, making it the latest winning goal scored against City in the Premier League since Opta's exact goal times became available in 2006-07.

The result ended City's 20-match unbeaten run on home soil, but Guardiola does not feel the spectre of the World Cup affected his team's performance.

Asked whether his side played with caution ahead of the tournament, Guardiola said: "Who knows? I don't think so. 

"I think the problem was tactical, you saw how the guys ran and how they fought, it was more the long balls and second balls, we weren't able to do it.

"It's football, now there's a break for everyone. I congratulate Brentford. Hopefully the guys at the World Cup can enjoy it, and we'll come back."

Ivan Toney responded to his failure to make England's World Cup squad by firing Brentford to a stunning 2-1 victory over Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, preventing the champions from going top of the Premier League.

Brentford went ahead after 16 minutes when Toney nodded beyond Ederson, but City levelled through Phil Foden's brilliant half-volley after pinning the visitors back.

However, Pep Guardiola's men struggled to break down the stubborn Bees in a stop-start second half, and Toney finished off a fine Brentford break by tapping home a dramatic winner in the eighth minute of stoppage time.

The result saw City sign off for the World Cup break in frustrating fashion, leaving them two points behind leaders Arsenal ahead of the Gunners' trip to Wolves later on Saturday. 


Pep Guardiola joked both he and Jurgen Klopp will need to play for Manchester City and Liverpool when the sides meet after the World Cup.

The Premier League rivals will meet for the third time this season, having faced off in the Community Shield and the top-flight already, with the Reds victorious on both occasions, when they play each other in the fourth round of the EFL Cup.

But their next encounter will come immediately in the shadow of Qatar 2022, with the tie set to take place only a handful of days after the World Cup final on December 18.

That has led Guardiola to suggest both managers may need to lace up their boots, while conceding he does not know how his team will look once the dust settles after the tournament.

"He's going to play at left-back," he quipped on Klopp in a press conference. "I'm going to play holding midfielder. [But] I don't know how many players we will have.

"If [their national teams] don't get through the group stages, then they will be able to play Liverpool. If not, then we will see. Players will come back, but I don't know in what condition [yet]."

Both City and Liverpool will see several key players head to Qatar with their respective nations, though a fleet of players will not be called up.

That includes those, such as Erling Haaland and Mohamed Salah, whose countries have not qualified, while others like Roberto Firmino and Thiago Alcantara have not made the cut.

In the case of Haaland, Guardiola does not necessarily see the Norway international's break from action as a blessing in disguise, despite the striker's recent struggles with fitness.

"I'd prefer him to go to the World Cup," he added. "[But] unfortunately they didn't qualify. He'll recover hopefully perfectly from his injury. He'll be in Marbella or Norway, and will hopefully come back to train."

City play Brentford in the Premier League this weekend, in their final game before the mid-season break, but will be without Kyle Walker as he continues to recover from injury.

The defender was named in England's World Cup squad alongside club-mate Kalvin Phillips, who only returned to action himself in midweek, with Guardiola saying Gareth Southgate's call to take the duo to Qatar is backed by City.

"It's a decision from Gareth," he added. "One-hundred per cent, we support his decision. After Saturday, the players belong to their national team, not us. I'm not worried."

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola heaped praise on England World Cup hopeful Jack Grealish after a "magnificent" display in Wednesday's 2-0 EFL Cup win over Chelsea.

Grealish is expected to be named in Gareth Southgate's 26-man World Cup squad on Thursday and offered a timely reminder of his quality against the Blues.

The 28-year-old midfielder forced Edouard Mendy into a couple of saves early in the second half and was full of confidence and energy in the absence of Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden.

"Jack was magnificent," Guardiola told reporters. "He played really well. I want Jack to have responsibility when we play with Kevin or Phil.

"When he gets the ball and attacks the backline, his intention is always to pass the ball.

"All the time we tell him to go to score a goal. He has the body language to pass the ball, but tonight his body language was 'I am going to score a goal'. He didn’t score, but one day he will do it. Jack is playing really good."

The game marked Grealish's 13th start for the season, having only managed one goal in 16 appearances.

City teammate Kalvin Phillips, who returned from a shoulder injury as a 50th minute substitute, hailed Grealish.

"Jack has trained hard every single day," Phillips said. "He's not had the luck with scoring and assists, but I think he brings a lot more to the team than just that.

"When you see him play and he plays like that, it's a joy to watch."

Kalvin Phillips is optimistic of earning a place in England's World Cup squad after making his return to action, but accepts "anything can happen" due to his lack of playing time.

The midfielder has endured an injury-plagued time of things since joining Manchester City from Leeds United in the close season, featuring in just four of his side's 21 matches.

However, after a two-month spell on the sidelines with a shoulder injury, Phillips made his comeback as a substitute in Wednesday's 2-0 EFL Cup third-round win over Chelsea.

That 40-minute cameo came on the eve of Gareth Southgate naming his 26-man squad for Qatar 2022, and Phillips is hoping he has done enough to have earned a place.

"Anything can happen. I'm optimistic but I know with the amount of game time I've had there's always a doubt," he told Sky Sports when asked if he believes he will be included.

"I think with my injuries I've not been playing 100 per cent because of my shoulder. Now it's sorted I can get back to what I was before. Hopefully it'll put me in good stead."

Phillips has yet to start a game since arriving in a £45million deal, with his appearance against Chelsea his first of any sort since facing Borussia Dortmund on September 14.

The 26-year-old, who has 23 caps for England, admits he felt nervous when replacing Rodrigo early in the second period at the Etihad Stadium.

"It's an amazing feeling. It's been a long time. I'm glad to get back out there and play with the lads," he said.

"But without playing for a while, it's nerve-racking stepping onto the pitch for one of my first appearances for the club. It felt good.

"[It's been] difficult. When I first found out I needed the operation everything went out the window. I didn't feel great about the situation. 

"But after a couple of days I always made sure I worked hard. I was always positive. I'm back fit now so hopefully have a chance.

"A couple of days after the operation my thought was to get back and do as much as I could to get fit. I did more sessions than I would have done to get my fitness back."

Man City host Brentford in the Premier League on Saturday in their final match ahead of the World Cup, which begins for England on November 21 with a clash against Iran.

Asked if he believes Phillips is ready to play a part in the tournament, City boss Pep Guardiola said: "There's a lot of days to go until the first game. He's ready."

There is little point in scrapping the EFL Cup because UEFA and FIFA would just create another competition in its place, according to Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.

City face Chelsea in the third round of the competition at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday and should they progress, their next game in the competition would be scheduled for the week commencing December 19.

That would cause selection headaches for many competing teams as the World Cup final takes place on December 18.

"If England decide to play this competition [the EFL Cup] then we play this competition because if we don't play the competition, UEFA and FIFA are going to create a new competition. That's for sure," Guardiola said at a press conference on Tuesday.

"They're not going to give us long weeks off. If you cut off this one then another one comes. So no official game [but] friendly games. And after three weeks, start another season.

"Every season is the same so that's why it's not any better. Just put it on the table but [I don't] pay much attention because the things where you cannot control. Why waste energy? Why?"

Several coaches, including Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, have raised consistent concerns about the schedule in England, particularly with the World Cup starting in Qatar later this month.

Guardiola indicated he shares those frustrations, and aired his concerns about a "crazy World Cup" but conceded that complaints do not change anything.

"It is tougher. It is more intense," he said. "Since day one, I said many times, when I was in Barcelona and managing even maybe at Bayern Munich, I listened to the news in England and all the managers complained about the schedules, schedules, the schedules, and 'Why do you play on Saturday at 12 when we play on Wednesday in the Champions League, and the other countries can play on Friday to be more ready for the Champions League?'

"There were complaints but nothing changed. What is going to change? They have 18 teams [in the Bundesliga], we have 20 teams, and one World Cup in this schedule. A crazy World Cup and the players don't rest. I will rest but the players won't rest with the pressure and the tension to go to the World Cup.

"Against Brentford [on Saturday] the players will have one eye on the World Cup. So what happens if you have an injury against Brentford?

"But the schedule is the schedule, the calendar is the calendar. You have to adapt and nothing's going to change. I tell you my opinion.

"We're going to cancel [the EFL Cup]? No, so we have to do it, go and that's all. Nothing's going to change."

Graham Potter is one of the best coaches in the Premier League, and Chelsea will be rewarded for sticking with him, according to Pep Guardiola.

Chelsea face Guardiola's Manchester City in the EFL Cup third round on Wednesday – a task Potter is unlikely to relish given recent results.

After a nine-match unbeaten run to start his Stamford Bridge reign, Potter lost 4-1 at former club Brighton and Hove Albion last month.

A narrow defeat to Premier League leaders Arsenal on Sunday was a second in a row domestically, and pressure is already building on the coach.

But Guardiola thinks highly of his opposite number, and he said ahead of their meeting: "I'm not the right person to say that because it's not my business. But if Chelsea accepts my humble advice, with no intention, give him time and he will do well."

The City boss added: "I have a lot of admiration for his work. What he did at Brighton is beyond exceptional, and I'm pretty sure with time he will do a good job.

"I don't have any doubts about this. It's the same with Roberto De Zerbi at Brighton.

"When they start losing games, it's a question of time. If they are patient, he will have an impact in England and he will have it as Graham has done in this country.

"He's one of the best managers, from my point of view, we have in this league."

Guardiola will encounter another man under pressure on Wednesday as former City star Raheem Sterling returns to the Etihad Stadium with Chelsea.

Sterling scored against Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League last week, but that was only his fifth goal for Chelsea. He netted 17 for City last season.

"No, no, I cannot judge," Guardiola said. "In the case of Oleks [Zinchenko], Gabi [Jesus] and Raheem, I want the best.

"So, my gratitude to all of them, especially these guys, is immense, immense for what they have done for this club. Just hats off.

"Thank you so much, and I wish him all the best and, hopefully, he's happy there.

"I definitely hope [Sterling gets a good reception]. I always like clubs when they welcome the guys who had been here many years and have been key figures and important roles in our team in all these years.

"Because maybe you forget what happened in the last month, but that is not a reality [of] what happened in a period of six, seven years he was here.

"He deserves it, of course. The same is going to happen with Gabi. When the game starts, of course, you want to beat them. But I think in England, people appreciate that."

Pep Guardiola is unsure if Erling Haaland will feature against Chelsea, but midfielder Kalvin Phillips will be part of the squad for Wednesday's EFL Cup third-round tie.

Haaland returned from a two-game injury absence as a second-half substitute against Fulham at the weekend and scored a late penalty to snatch a 2-1 victory for his side.

However, the Norway international – who boasts 23 goals in 17 appearances for City – has still not fully recovered from the foot injury and may sit out the visit of Chelsea.

"He is still not perfect," Guardiola said at Tuesday's pre-match press conference. "We'll see tomorrow [Wednesday] and on Saturday [against Brentford]. He is getting better. 

"What's important is the bone isn't broken so there's no damage, just the ligament is damaged a bit. It's not perfect right now, but in one week or 10 days anything can happen."

Haaland is expected to be called up by Norway for this month's friendlies with Republic of Ireland and Finland, but Guardiola says that will depend on the striker's fitness.

"If he feels good, to play for the national team is important for the players," Guardiola said. "I have no problem for players when they are fit to play for the national team."

Wednesday's match will come too soon for England defender Kyle Walker, who remains a World Cup doubt, but international colleague Phillips will be available.

Phillips has played just 13 minutes since joining from Leeds United during the close season, owing to a shoulder injury that required surgery.

Despite his lack of playing time, the midfielder remains hopeful of being included as part of Gareth Southgate's 26-man squad for Qatar 2022, which will be named on Thursday.

Asked if he believes Phillips will be ready to play a part for England in Qatar, Guardiola said: "That is up to Gareth Southgate. I cannot answer, I don't know what the plan is. 

"I think they are communicating with the physios and doctors – the club and the English national team. Apart from that I cannot answer you, I don't know."

City have won the EFL Cup four times under Guardiola and advanced from each of their past nine third-round ties in the competition, scoring 34 goals in that period.

Meanwhile, Guardiola's side have won 10 of their past 14 home matches against Chelsea in all competitions, most recently winning 1-0 in the league in January.

City are also through to the last 16 of the Champions League and are two points behind Arsenal in the Premier League, with the FA Cup set to start in two months' time.

However, in a week his side posted an annual profit of £41.7million, up from £2.4m in the previous year, Guardiola insists he is not looking to strengthen in the January window.

"We are not going to do that," he said. "We have the squad we have, we are pleased and that's all."

Kalvin Phillips hopes to make England's squad for the World Cup after "recovering as fast as I possibly can" from shoulder surgery.

The Manchester City midfielder left Leeds United in the last transfer window to join Pep Guardiola's side, but he has only played 14 minutes for the Premier League champions this season.

That has largely been down to a shoulder issue that required surgery in September and left him as a doubt to make Gareth Southgate's 26-man squad for the World Cup.

Guardiola confirmed Phillips will be among the substitutes against Chelsea in the EFL Cup on Wednesday, though, and the 26-year-old hopes a timely recovery will see him make Southgate's travelling party.

"The shoulder's perfectly fine now," Phillips told BBC Radio 5 Live.

Speaking on the Monday Night Club, he added: "I have gone through a seven-week process of recovering as fast as I possibly can for the World Cup. Everything is going great.

"I've obviously not done it for quite a long time now, but I've kept my fitness up, and I'd like to think I could play 90 minutes."

England face Iran in their first game at the World Cup on November 21, but Phillips' place may be far from guaranteed after making just three substitute appearances since joining City.

When asked about his chances of boarding the plane to Qatar, Phillips said: "I'm not too sure yet. I'm very hopeful that I can be involved. We will have to wait and see."

While chances have been limited for the England international at City, battling with the likes of Rodri and Ilkay Gundogan for a midfield spot, Phillips praised Guardiola's management during his injury issues.

"Pep has been great, and he has spoken to me quite a lot. It is part of football, and he understands that," Phillips said.

"After my first full contact session the other day, he said he would hopefully try and get me minutes against Chelsea.

"[Following surgery] I spoke to Gareth and told him about my situation. I said I understood if he didn't select me, but he reassured me that 'as long as you're fit enough, and you prove you're progressing well, there's always a chance you will be called up'.

"I've done everything in my power to be as fit as possible, and hopefully I will be involved."

Pep Guardiola has revealed Kalvin Phillips could be back in Manchester City action before England fly out to the World Cup.

The City manager disclosed midfielder Phillips will be a substitute for City's EFL Cup game against Chelsea on Wednesday.

Although he has not promised Phillips will come off the bench, the former Leeds United star is now at the stage of his recovery from a shoulder injury where first-team duty is a possibility once more.

The news will be cautiously welcomed by England boss Gareth Southgate, for whom Phillips has been a key figure when fit.

Guardiola said Phillips took part in a full training session on Friday and "felt good".

“Against Chelsea he will be on the bench, whether to play or not I don't know, but he will be on the bench. Kalvin is much better," Guardiola said.

Kyle Walker, who underwent groin surgery four weeks ago, is another City player looking to prove his fitness ahead of England's Qatar 2022 trip.

"I spoke with Kyle and he feels good too, but his surgery was later than Kalvin, that's why I don’t know," Guardiola said.

Southgate would ideally want both Phillips and Walker on the plane, but only if they are in shape to make a full contribution, and doubts remain over both players for now.

Guardiola is making no promises, saying: "I don't know. I spoke with Gareth Southgate 10 or 12 days ago.

"We had a chat, a coffee, him and his assistant, and we talked about them, he spoke with them and the doctors.

"He asked [about Kalvin and Kyle] and I said, 'I don't know, I'm not a doctor'."

Guardiola savoured his team's win against Fulham on Saturday, when substitute Erling Haaland's stoppage-time penalty secured a 2-1 home success.

City had played from 10 men from the 26th minute onwards after Joao Cancelo was red-carded for bundling over Harry Wilson to give away a spot-kick, which Andreas Pereira converted to cancel out Julian Alvarez's early opener.

Guardiola said his remaining players were "exceptional" and made him "so, so proud".

He reserved special praise for man of the match Kevin De Bruyne, saying the Belgian playmaker "put the team on his shoulders".

According to Guardiola, Cancelo should not have felt the need to clatter into Wilson and should have put his trust in goalkeeper Ederson.

"He deserved the red," Guardiola said, according to City's official website. "I say many times to all the players, outside the box after 85 minutes make a foul. But [at that stage of the game], let them score. Okay 1-1, penalty 1-1, but 10 v 11 is too much.

"Hopefully we can learn, not Joao, all of us. It happens in football - if you lose the duel with the striker, it can happen, rely on Eddie, he can save it."

Erling Haaland described his stoppage-time penalty against Fulham as "one of the most nervous moments of my life" as he fired home to send Manchester City top of the Premier League.

The Norwegian's successful spot-kick gave City a 2-1 home victory on Saturday after they played over 64 minutes with 10 men due to Joao Cancelo's red card.

Haaland, who began on the bench after missing two games with a foot injury, replaced Julian Alvarez in the 64th minute and had a goal disallowed for a tight offside before holding his nerve from 12 yards at the death.

Alvarez had given City the lead with a thumping finish, but when Cancelo knocked Harry Wilson to the floor in the 26th minute to give Fulham a penalty and earn himself a red card, the game changed.

Andreas Pereira levelled from the spot, and City were not as freewheeling in their attacking after that.

However, having Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne gave them hope, and although a Haaland header from De Bruyne's cross was chalked off, it was that combination that brought about the winner.

De Bruyne was tripped, and Haaland stepped up, just about beating Bernd Leno as his powerful strike to the bottom-left corner was almost kept out by the Fulham goalkeeper.

Haaland's reaction spoke volumes, as he said: "Fantastic. I was nervous. It was one of the most nervous moments of my life, but fantastic.

"A penalty in the last minute, of course I would be nervous. But it was an amazing feeling. I don't care how it went in, it is about it going in. I love it. I have been injured for a week, and it is really important to win."

The former Borussia Dortmund marksman, quoted on City's official website, said Pep Guardiola's team showed their true colours by battling to the end to snatch the points.

Heading into Sunday's games, it meant City held a one-point cushion over Arsenal, who faced a tricky trip to Chelsea.

Haaland said: "When you go 10 v 11 for 70 minutes, it is difficult; I don't think any team would do it as good as we did it today."

He has scored 16 goals in his last 10 Premier League appearances, matching the most goals by any player in a 10-game period in the competition, previously achieved in 2013 by Liverpool's Luis Suarez.

The 22-year-old Haaland added: "I am so tired, but so happy. You have no idea."

Erling Haaland was set for a Premier League return off the bench as he was named as a substitute for Manchester City's clash with Fulham on Saturday.

The prolific Norwegian missed last week's 1-0 win at Leicester City, as well as Wednesday's 3-1 Champions League victory over Sevilla, after suffering a foot injury.

With 17 goals in his first 11 Premier League appearances, and 22 goals across all competitions already, the former Borussia Dortmund striker has made a flying start to his time in England.

Manager Pep Guardiola was determined not to rush Haaland back, and said on Friday the 22-year-old would be assessed after a final training session before a decision was made on his involvement.

Guardiola said it was clear Haaland was "much better".

For the visit of Fulham, Guardiola judged it prudent to hand Haaland a limited role, starting instead with Julian Alvarez as his main striker, supported by the likes of Bernardo Silva, Jack Grealish and Kevin De Bruyne.

City's bench was stacked with quality for the clash with the Cottagers, with Haaland joined by players including Ruben Dias, Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez.

Fulham, meanwhile, were without their leading scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic, with the club citing "ankle pain" as the reason for his absence.

Pep Guardiola believes Newcastle United are contenders for the Premier League trophy this season and feels Liverpool cannot be ruled out of the running, naming six rivals for Manchester City's crown.

City are bidding for a third consecutive Premier League triumph and sit two points behind early-season leaders Arsenal ahead of this weekend's fixtures. 

With last season's runners-up Liverpool languishing in ninth place amid a dire start to the campaign, the upper reaches of the table have an unfamiliar look – with Newcastle flying high in fourth.

Eddie Howe's team have won three successive Premier League games and have conceded just 10 goals in their 13 outings in the competition this term – fewer than any other side, leading Guardiola to talk up their chances.

Asked which teams were in contention for the title, Guardiola said: "I would say Arsenal, I would say Man City, I would say Chelsea, I would say Newcastle, I would say Tottenham, I would say [Manchester] United and I would say Liverpool as well. 

"I think these teams can fight for the title."

Pushed on why he viewed Newcastle as part of that conversation, Guardiola highlighted their lack of European football and the high-pressing style instilled by Howe.

"They have incredible physicality," Guardiola said, "they don't play in Europe and when this happens, it's a big advantage when arriving at the decisive moment in terms of energy. 

"They have incredible energy for themselves. Imagine having one long week [to prepare]. A good manager, top-class players, experienced ones, quality in the middle, box-to-box transition team. 

"The way they have the intensity without the ball is so impressive, it's high, and that is a big difference. They have a good momentum and I imagine that they are going to stay there for longer."

Much of Guardiola's trophy-laden spell at City has been characterised by close title battles with Liverpool, and he has refused to write off Jurgen Klopp's side despite their poor start.

"In the past, the same manager and the same squad are able to make 17 victories in a row, 18 victories in a row, 14 victories in a row," Guardiola said.

"Many times in these last years they have done it, why can't [they] do it again? 

"Nobody knows what is going to happen after the World Cup with the transfer window, how the players come back. This is my feeling. 

"The first candidate right now is Arsenal. Why? They are top of the league and the rest are behind. The gap is close. 

"We'll see how we finish in the last two games, but I think many of these teams deserve to be there, and we'll see how they play against all of them. 

"How teams like United and Newcastle have stepped forward, and how Tottenham have done so, they can be there, [there are] no doubts."

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