The Manchester City manager also warned Mikel Arteta that he’ll have to ‘fight’ to get the trophy off his team.
Pep Guardiola has stated that the Premier League title race is not a two-horse race, claiming that Manchester United and Newcastle United are still in contention for first place.
Arsenal and Manchester City meet at the Emirates on Wednesday night in a highly anticipated clash between first and second place. With a win, City will leapfrog Arsenal to the top of the Premier League, though Mikel Arteta’s men have a game in hand.
But Guardiola insisted the match in North London will not be key to determining who finishes first, and said, at this stage, it’s just important to remain among the chasing pack ahead of the decisive fixtures in April and May.
Asked if he considers third and fourth-place United and Newcastle as title rivals, the City boss replied: “Yeah, they are there. There are a lot of points to play for.
“We don’t know what can happen in the next weeks. I always have the feeling, especially now with European competitions back and FA Cup around the corner, the last eight to 10 games are going to decide the title. We have to try to be there in that moment and then have to make the last effort to try to achieve it.”
Guardiola also said the title is still ‘in our hands’ and rejected the suggestion that Arsenal has greater motivation given the current crop at the Emirates has not yet won the league.
“The biggest motivation is that I don’t want to drop the Premier League just because we are not who we are,” he said. “If they beat us because they are better then this is a sport, I’ll be the first to congratulate them, as I’ve always done. But not because we are not there.
“You want it? OK, fight. Take it. It’s in our hands. We’ll defend this title until the last day. This is what I’d like, to fight to the maximum to try to retain the title. If we don’t, accept it. But we need to give our best. My players have to feel that every day.”