Forget Mourinho’s mind games, Guardiola warns City

Manchester City’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and West Bromwich Albion at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on January 31, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Lindsey PARNABY /

Pep Guardiola rubbished Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho’s concession of the Premier League title to his Manchester City side as too soon and warned against complacency ahead of Saturday’s trip to Burnley.

Mourinho, whose rivalry with Guardiola stretches back to a stormy relationship as bosses of Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively, told a news conference on Friday that United are now playing for second place after falling 15 points behind City with defeat at Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday.

But Guardiola is not ready to crown his side champions, despite his rivals already throwing in the towel.

“Not yet. There are 13 games, 39 points to play (for), we have a 15-point lead so it’s not over.

“We have an amazing run of tough games to play, for example at Burnley.

“Everybody knows here in England how complicated it is playing in Burnley, and after we have to go to Stoke and Goodison Park.

“We have games against Arsenal, Tottenham, United, Chelsea…it’s definitely not over.”

City have broken records all season and, having found the net 73 times, have scored more top flight goals than any other team has at this stage of a Premier League campaign.

Yet, Guardiola is refusing to get carried away as City target a historic four-trophy haul in a packed schedule.

City are in action in three other competitions before the month is out as they travel to face Basel in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie, face third-tier Wigan in the FA Cup fifth round and Arsenal in the Carabao Cup final on February 25.

Guardiola has already been forced to improvise this season due to a long-term knee injury to left-back Benjamin Mendy and could be forced to do so further up the field in the coming weeks.

Gabriel Jesus needs a further four to five weeks “rest” according to Guardiola following a knee injury suffered in December, whilst Leroy Sane faces six weeks out.

City also pulled out of the race to sign Riyad Mahrez in the final days of the transfer window.

“You talk with your staff and players and it’s something that you sense,” added Guardiola on his ability to find solutions.

“In many cases, we’ve seen wingers playing as full backs or midfielders as centre-backs.”

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