(Reuters) – Manchester City will be judged only by the trophies they win and failure to seal the Premier League title on Sunday could result in critics trying to “destroy” the team, manager Pep Guardiola said on Friday.
Defending champions City lead Liverpool by a point ahead of the final game of the season and a victory at Brighton & Hove Albion will ensure Guardiola’s side become the first English team to retain the title since Manchester United in 2009.
However, the Spaniard is wary of critics if Liverpool pip City at the post, pointing to the questions they faced about their mentality when they were knocked out of the Champions League in the quarter-finals by Tottenham Hotspur.
“We saw that in the Champions League… when you are out everybody destroys the team, destroys the club, destroys the manager,” Guardiola told a news conference.
“We know the world we live in and I know we’ll be judged —you have to win… it’s not going to change my opinion about what we’ve done, but if you want more credit you have to win.
“We’re travelling to Brighton and just thinking of trying to win. That’s the ideal situation… afterwards we celebrate or congratulate Liverpool.”
Liverpool, who are looking to end a 29-year drought for an English league title, were seven points ahead of City in January before the champions clawed their way back.
“It’s a dream to be here. I didn’t expect… to be in the position that we are now,” Guardiola added.
“We’re going to play well, strong mentally, knowing it’ll be tough… it’s better to focus on what we do. If we win we don’t have to look at anything else.”
Midfielder Kevin De Bruyne could feature on the final day after shaking off a hamstring problem sustained in a 1-0 league victory over Tottenham Hotspur last month.
“He trained the last two days, he was part of the sessions. Tomorrow is the last training. He could (be involved),” Guardiola said.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)