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Necessary that we begin well: Pep Guardiola

City beat Liverpool to the title by a point last season
Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola
File Photo

Reuters   |   London   |   Published 06.08.22, 03:48 AM

Guardiola said the fine margins that have decided the Premier League title race in recent years means it is crucial that Manchester City hit the ground running when their campaign begins on Sunday. City beat Liverpool to the title by a point last season, and in the 2018-19 campaign, and Guardiola said any slipup could result in a team being out of the race by November when the league goes on break for the World Cup.

“I have the feeling every time we start the press conference that this season is harder,” Guardiola told reporters on Friday ahead of their season-opener at West Ham United. “I think next season cannot be harder but it is.

“Every club is getting better, the managers are so exciting and that is why the Premier League is the best.

“(This year) there are two seasons, one before the World Cup, you can’t win it before but you can lose it ... We won two Premier Leagues by one point, we know we can win 12-14 games in a row. Liverpool as well. You have to start well.”

Bernardo Silva has been linked with a move away from City and though Guardiola said he wants the Portuguese midfielder to remain at the club he will not force any player to stay.

Martial ruled out 

Manchester United forward Anthony Martial will miss Sunday’s opener against Brighton & Hove Albion due to a minor injury, but new signings Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez could start, manager Erik ten Hag said on Friday. Martial scored three goals in friendlies in the pre-season and Ten Hag is hoping the Frenchman will shake off the problem quickly.

“It is always difficult to say with these injuries, but hopefully not too long,” Dutchman Ten Hag told reporters, adding that fans will have to wait until Sunday to see if Cristiano Ronaldo will play up front. Ronaldo’s future at United has been the subject of intense speculation after British media reported that the 37-year-old told the club that he wanted to leave so he can play in the Champions League.

“We have a top striker. He’s here and is in the squad. We stick to the plan,” Ten Hag said. “I think we have to look forward to the first game. We want to win every game and we will be trying to do that from Sunday.”

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