Guardiola: Liverpool won't be Man City's only title rivals next season

The City boss is keen for his side to avoid complacency despite their domestic dominance throughout the 2018-19 campaign

Pep Guardiola says Manchester City are starting from scratch next season and warned his side will have more than just an “amazing rivalry” with Liverpool to contend with.

City edged Liverpool by a solitary point to claim the Premier League title on the final day of the season after an extraordinary title race that saw the two clubs amass 195 points between them.

City also won the Carabao Cup and FA Cup to become the first side to complete an English domestic treble.

The only disappointment in an otherwise flawless campaign was defeat to Tottenham in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, ending hopes of an unprecedented quadruple.

Spurs would go on to reach the final  where they were beaten 2-0 by Liverpool in Madrid on Saturday, ensuring City’s title rivals also ended the campaign with silverware.

The two are expected to be the main protagonists in the title race again next term, but Guardiola – speaking to reporters at the basketball match between Manresa and Real Madrid – insists City will have plenty of company in the battle for supremacy.

“We have an amazing rivalry, but not only with them [Liverpool], there are five other strong teams and that’s why the Premier League is so tough,” he said.

“Next season we will start from scratch and we’ll see what happens.”

The former Barcelona boss also answered questions on current Blaugrana coach Ernesto Valverde, whose future at Camp Nou is under scrutiny.

The 55-year-old is under pressure after a humiliating Champions League semi-final loss to Liverpool, which saw Barca win the first leg 3-0 but crumble 4-0 in the return leg at Anfield. The Catalan giants then tasted defeat in the Copa del Rey final against Valencia in Seville.

Barca did retain their title in La Liga, though, and Guardiola offered his backing to Valverde.

“Away from the great friendship that we have, Ernesto is spectacular,” he added.

“He’s done a very good job. Sure he lost the Champions League, we all did.

“[He’s in charge of] a team that has won two league [titles] in a row and plays good football, I’m happy that he’s staying.

“Barcelona continue being loyal to his style.”

 

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