Pep Guardiola says Manchester City’s latest title success was ‘the hardest one’

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola claimed the club’s latest Premier League title success was “the hardest one” after they secured another trophy on Tuesday night.

City were crowned champions under Guardiola for the third time in four years, after nearest rivals Manchester United were beaten 2-1 at home by Leicester.

The 50-year-old said: “This has been a season and a Premier League title like no other. This was the hardest one,”

City missed the opportunity to secure the title on Saturday when they lost 2-1 at home to Chelsea.

United beat Aston Villa on Sunday and needed another victory to delay the celebrations once again – but a side showing 10 changes could not see off the Foxes, who took an early lead through a fine volley from teenager Luke Thomas which was cancelled out by Mason Greenwood’s neat finish.

However, Caglar Soyuncu headed in a corner midway through the second half to secure all three points and leave City as champions with three games still to play.

Even if United, set for a rescheduled league match against Liverpool on Thursday as well as the Europa League final, could have produced the required performance, it would have only delayed City’s seemingly inevitable march towards regaining the title.

Guardiola will now take his side to Newcastle on Friday safe in the knowledge another major trophy is in the bag, reclaimed from Liverpool. They had already won the Carabao Cup, beating Tottenham last month.

City, though, also have European dominance firmly in their sights, with the chance to complete a trophy treble when they tackle Chelsea in the Champions League final on May 29.

A Manchester City fan holds up a ‘We Are Champions t-shirt’ at the Etihad Stadium
Manchester City fans have been quick to mark the team’s achievements (Nick Potts/PA)

Guardiola said: “We will always remember this season for the way that we won. I am so proud to be the manager here and of this group of players.

“They are so special. To come through this season – with all the restrictions and difficulties we’ve faced – and show the consistency we have is remarkable.

“It is relentless. Every single day, they are there, fighting for success, trying always to be better. They have been so, so resilient.

“That is equally true of each and every member of our backroom staff, who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that our players are fully equipped to take on the unexpected challenges and new routines throughout such a turbulent year.

“Not forgetting, of course, all of the staff across our organisation who work to make this club the success it is.”

Guardiola continued: “At the start of every season, the Premier League is the most important title for us. This is the one where you have to be there every three days, playing all your rivals home and away.

“Only by being the very best, week in week out, can you win this competition. It is a huge success.

“It is so important to say a huge ‘thank you’ to all our fans. In our toughest moments, we couldn’t hear the crowd get behind us as usual, but we know they are with us everywhere we go and that has lifted us.

“I promise them we sense their love, we appreciate it and we could not have done what we have done without it. I hope we can all celebrate together one day not too far away.”

City captain Fernandinho spoke of his pride at leading the club to another title success.

“The Premier League is the hardest league in world football – every single game is tough. To win it again means the world to me and the rest of the squad,” the Brazilian said.

“To captain this team is an honour and a privilege because the players have given their all throughout season, whether in training or in matches. The teamwork has been amazing.

“Football is everything to us and we strive every single day to be as good as we can be in the hope we can bring success to Manchester City.

“Winning the Premier League title is the ultimate fulfilment of our ambitions. It’s what we all dreamed of as young players, so to do it is a wonderful feeling.”

Fernandinho added: “We will enjoy this moment and we hope the fans do too. Rest assured we will continue to do everything we can to bring the Champions League home this season.”