Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says champions are 'legends'

Pep Guardiola celebrates
Pep Guardiola has won 11 major trophies during his managerial career

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has said his side are “legends” after securing their fourth Premier League title in five seasons.

City won the league by a point over challengers Liverpool with a stunning 3-2 comeback win against Aston Villa on the final day at Etihad Stadium.

It is Guardiola’s 11th major trophy of his managerial career.

“We are legends. We will be remembered,” Guardiola told Sky Sports after lifting the trophy.

City were 2-0 down to Villa before substitute Ilkay Gundogan scored twice, either side of midfielder Rodri’s goal, in a sensational five-minute comeback.

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“The last game is always special – a lot of emotion,” Guardiola said. “Aston Villa gave everything but the first goal changed everything. We had to handle it.

“When you win the Premier League in this country four times in five seasons, it is because these guys are so, so special.

“Winning at home in front of our people is the best. The moment we equalised, we had the feeling we had the chance to score the third.”

Meanwhile, Liverpool won 3-1 at home to Wolves but could do nothing to stop Manchester City defending their title.

The top two sides lost just five games between them in the league all season.

“The magnitude of the achievement is related to the magnitude of our rival and I have never seen a team like Liverpool in my life,” Guardiola added.

“Congratulations to Liverpool – they have made us better and better each week.

“I don’t have the energy or desire to think about next season now. We are champions again.”

‘Proud to bring this title to Ukraine’

Oleksandr Zinchenko
Oleksandr Zinchenko was in tears at full-time as he wore the Ukrainian flag across his shoulders

Ukrainian international Oleksandr Zinchenko came on at half-time for Manchester City and made an impact when he set-up the second goal for Rodri.

He celebrated on the pitch afterwards with a Ukrainian flag draped across his shoulders, posing for photos, before wrapping it around the trophy.

“[These are] unforgettable emotions for me – for all Ukrainians who at the moment are starving, and surviving in my country because of Russian aggression,” he said.

“I am so proud to be Ukrainian and to bring this title to Ukraine, for all Ukrainian people, because they deserve it.

“It means everything for me – I would die for these people and their support. What people gave me and what they have done for me during this period – the toughest period of my life – I am so appreciative and I will never forget this, never in my life.”

‘I was nearly crying when I had it in my hands’

Grealish thrilled to win title in ‘perfect way’

Forward Jack Grealish joined City for a British record £100m in August from Aston Villa and he said he was “nearly crying” when he finally got his hands on the Premier League trophy.

It was the first time in 17 years that City had come from 2-0 down in a league game to win.

“I’ve had a few moments in my life and in football but this is certainly right up there. I’ve come here to win trophies and to do it is unbelievable,” Grealish told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“Truthfully I didn’t think we were going to win, I just didn’t. Sometimes you have those bad feelings in your head and I just didn’t think we were going to do it.”

Forward Raheem Sterling, who spent three years at Liverpool, said Jurgen Klopp’s team had “pushed” City to achieve more success.

“Each year we come in and we know how difficult it will be with the teams we have,” he said.

“Liverpool are a great opponent and every year they push us to the wire and this is why we achieve stuff like this.”

Belgian midfielder Kevin de Bruyne, who was named Premier League player of the year earlier this week, said his side fought until the end because they had nothing to lose.

“You just go for it – you’re losing anyway. You want to change the situation and that’s what we did,” he added.

‘You won’t get many better seasons’

Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown said it would have been a “travesty” if City had missed out on a trophy this season, with Liverpool having picked up the two domestic cups as well as setting up a Champions League final against Real Madrid.

The nature of City’s dramatic final-day victory made it even more impressive for ex-Manchester United defender Gary Neville, who described it as a “relentless, brilliant season”.

He told Sky Sports it was an “incredible football season” with “head-to-head all the way through”. He added: “You won’t get many better Premier League seasons than that.

“For 75 minutes you couldn’t believe what you were witnessing in the [Etihad] stadium. It felt like it was over, but suddenly they pulled three goals out of the hat.”

Former England striker Alan Shearer said: “What a team, what a season and what a standard of football we’ve witnessed.

“It’s just unbelievable what Pep Guardiola’s got at Manchester City and what Jurgen Klopp has at Liverpool. It was a brilliant afternoon for the neutral.

“I was nervous and I don’t really care who wins it – so God knows what those supporters were going through, as that was one tense afternoon. Incredible.”

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