PEP GUARDIOLA took a swipe at his Manchester City title-chasers after declaring Arsenal have shown more desire than them to win the Premier league.
The City boss breathed a sigh of relief as his side kept up the pressure on the Gunners with a hard-earned 1-0 win at Crystal Palace on Saturday, thanks to Erling Haaland’s 78th penalty.
Arsenal responded with a 3-0 win at Fulham on Sunday to maintain their five-point lead.
But Guardiola also praised Mikel Arteta’s side for their late shows this season which have included winners in injury-time against Manchester United, Aston Villa, and Bournemouth.
Guardiola said: “They have gone many years without winning the Premier League and that has given them a little bit extra to win games, as they have after 93, 96, or 98 minutes.
“That desire is something they have that we don’t because we have won back-to-back titles.
“Normally in this country, when you win something and then you don’t start the season well or another team is better, you drop this consistency.
“Arsenal are the favourites because they are in front, but still we are there. This is the best trophy, and I don’t know what is going to happen at the end of the season, but they know we want to be there. We will fight to be there, and this is great.
“The composure with which we played against Palace, the few chances we conceded and the desire to win the game – because we wanted to win this game to be close to Arsenal – that is the best thing for my team.”
A third successive victory for City equalled their longest winning streak in the league this season and kept them within striking distance of a fifth title in six years.
It set them up for another crucial week which sees the second leg of their Champions League last 16 tie against RB Leipzig next, before an FA Cup quarter-final against Burnley, led by their former skipper Vincent Kompany.
However, Guardiola insisted that City’s experience of being in these situations counted for nothing.
Guardiola added: “If experience works, the team who wins the previous season will win it every single season. Experience in sport is no chance.
“Look at Liverpool who lost against Bournemouth on Saturday, a team who a few months ago they beat 9-0. Everything is so difficult. What you have done in the past is in the past.
“You have to do it again because football is unpredictable. Nobody expects many things that happen in football – people take it for granted, but that is not the truth.”