Pep tells Man City players: ‘Relax’ and title will be ours

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Pep Guardiola has told his Manchester City players to “relax” in Sunday’s Premier League finale against West Ham and they will lift their fourth consecutive title.

A second-half brace from Erling Haaland ensured City won 2-0 at Tottenham on Tuesday to move back ahead of Arsenal and keep the race in their own hands against West Ham on the final day.

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City had to wait until the 51st-minute to break the deadlock and Guardiola urged his team to heed lessons from both their own past and Arsenal’s narrow 1-0 victory at Manchester United last weekend to stay on course for a historic success.

“They were playing for the consequences of the result [in the first half],” said Guardiola. “When you do that you are going to lose the Premier League. You cannot perform to your level.

“They are human beings, I understand the pressure. Not even Arsenal played well against Manchester United, they knew if they did not win there they would not win the Premier League.

“It will be the same on Sunday for us against West Ham. We will feel the pressure. Look at Aston Villa a few seasons ago [2021-22], 2-0 down 15 minutes to go, Sergio Aguero against QPR [in 2011-12], went to 93 minutes [before Aguero scored]. It is normal.

“That is why we talk and say everyone has to relax themselves and do what they have to do, that is all.”

City will win the league by beating West Ham no matter how Arsenal fare against Everton and Guardiola added: “We know what we’re playing for. The tension is there, the rival is so good. It’s why it is difficult, we know that.

“Everyone come to the stadium and make noise. These games are more difficult but you have to do it. We’ll have one day off, two days to prepare, and then we will do our best.”

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