A banner inside Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium on Sunday was decorated with a picture of the team’s coach and the words “Pep Guardiola changed football” printed on it.
The Spanish coach did not intend to brag about his achievements during the celebration of crowning City with the Premier League title for the fifth time in six seasons, but his record, which includes 11 league titles in 15 seasons as coach of Barcelona, then Bayern Munich, and now City, speaks for itself.
During the next three weeks, he can move City to greater heights if he wins the FA Cup and the European Champions League to complete a historic treble.
And while he stresses that failure to achieve the European title, when he faces Inter Milan in the final, should not diminish what his club has achieved, Guardiola realizes that his career with City may be evaluated in the end based on his results in the Champions League, and he told reporters: Five English Premier League titles in Six years, I could not imagine that, I have a feeling that we have achieved something special, but for it to be considered one of the greatest achievements, we must win the Champions League, otherwise success will not be complete, we won a lot, but it cannot be denied that it may be unfair to win the Champions League to give value to what you do.
City were eight points behind Arsenal a few weeks ago in the league race, and Guardiola admitted he thought it was impossible to catch up with coach Mikel Arteta when he collected 50 points in the middle of the season, but City gathered his full energy and achieved 12 consecutive wins while Arsenal failed to follow suit. Same pace.
And the Spanish coach, who took charge of City in 2016, continued: In the first half, Arsenal collected 50 points, and I felt that he was accomplishing something exceptional, but thanks to our ferocity, our refusal to surrender, and our insistence on winning every game because we realize that it is impossible to catch up with them if we do not.
This is the third time that Guardiola has won the league title three times in a row, as he dominated the Spanish League between 2009 and 2011 and repeated that in the German League from 2014 to 2016.