Pep Guardiola hails Manchester City’s unity after victory at Leeds United maintained their one-point lead in the Premier League title race following Liverpool’s win at Newcastle
- Manchester City swept aside Leeds United 4-0 at Elland Road on Saturday
- Victory took City back to the top of the Premier League after Liverpool’s win
- Pep Guardiola’s side lead Liverpool by one point with four games to go
- Leeds boss Jesse Marsch criticised referee Paul Tierney for his performance
Pep Guardiola lauded Manchester City’s togetherness as they responded to Liverpool’s early victory and maintained a one-point lead in the title race.
Jurgen Klopp’s side piled the pressure on the defending champions by beating Newcastle United at lunchtime before City swept Leeds United aside at Elland Road.
City ran out four-goal winners – Rodri, Nathan Ake, Gabriel Jesus and Fernandinho scoring – but had to weather heavy first-half pressure to cement last night’s win.
Pep Guardiola lauded his Manchester City side after they beat Leeds 4-0 at Elland Road
The victory for City moved them back to the top of the Premier League with four games left
‘They respond really well and stick together in the bad moments,’ Guardiola said. ‘We had to suffer. Aymeric [Laporte] and Ruben [Dias] were fantastic. An incredible result.
‘The pressure is not too complicated to analyse. They play before, they are going to win all games. We’ve expected that for a long time.
‘All we have to do is win our games. When that happens, they are going to congratulate us. if it doesn’t happen, we are going to congratulate them.
‘It is an honour to try to make back-to-back and try to make a fourth Premier League [title] in five years. I know Liverpool is nicer with their history but what we have is not bad.’
Guardiola reserved special praise for central defenders Aymeric Laporte and Ruben Dias
City’s win came after Liverpool had briefly replaced them at the top of the Premier League
Guardiola added: ‘Today I felt the Elland Road crowd and why this [stadium] is so special. At the end, 4-0 down and fighting to stay up, they are chanting their support.
‘This was important for us because we have a final game in Madrid [on Wednesday] to reach the Champions League final and then we can just focus on the league for four games.’
Leeds manager Jesse Marsch heavily criticised referee Paul Tierney by claiming that City were given the majority of 50-50 decisions. Marsch was booked for his protestations.
‘If the ref is not behaving in a way I think is appropriate and I ask for things to change and they don’t change then I must change my behaviour to change his,’ Marsch said. ‘After my yellow I don’t think it’s a coincidence City get the next yellow.
Jesse Marsch was critical of referee Paul Tierney’s performance in the defeat to City
‘The big clubs get the calls so you have to fight. I didn’t think the freekick for the first goal was a foul. I felt over time there were a lot of light fouls they picked up, which can change the momentum of the game.’
Marsch added that the Leeds performance ‘felt like a win’ and believes they have enough to beat the drop – despite Burnley’s dramatic late win at Watford. The American’s cause was not helped by losing both Liam Cooper and Stuart Dallas with knee injuries. Dallas will miss the remainder of the season.
‘We knew this wasn’t going to be easy,’ Marsch said. ‘But we are up for it. Their desire gives me a lot of optimism and confidence. It wasn’t a 4-0 match. Our players are so committed to making these fans proud and keeping us in this league. It’s closer than we would like but whatever man, we keep going.
‘This was a loss but in many ways I feel like it’s a win. This club is very unique and its fanbase as well. This isn’t me pandering to the fans, I’m just calling it as I see it.’
Leeds were dealt a blow when Stuart Dallas was stretchered off with a serious injury
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