Pep Guardiola insists Premier League is more difficult and ‘satisfying’ to win than Champions League

The Champions League is one trophy that continues to evade City and Guardiola has not yet been able to get the job done since arriving in England, with a defeat in last season’s final to Chelsea and a dramatic collapse to Real Madrid in the semi-finals earlier this month the latest attempts.

There are no such concerns in the Premier League, with City 90 minutes away from a fourth title in five seasons. Guardiola’s side welcome Aston Villa to the Etihad on the final day with a one-point advantage over Liverpool, knowing they just need to match the Reds’ result at home to Wolves.

Jurgen Klopp’s side face Real in Paris next weekend in the Champions League final and while the City boss admitted it will be painful not to be there, he maintained that league success is the greater challenge.

“I would say it’s more difficult,” Guardiola said. “There’s a lot of weeks and games, struggles with injuries, good and bad moments with different situations, tough opponents.

“It’s satisfying because it’s every day. When you fight for the Premier League and have success right at the end, it gives you a sense that you enjoy a lot. We are happier in our lives when you win.

“When you win and win it (makes for) good training sessions, a good environment and mood. It’s not like the FA Cup or a single game, it’s a routine.

“I’m not saying the Champions League is not important. We’re mad, crazy to win it. We want it, we love it.

“We’d love to be in Paris next week but to win 38 games, rather than six, eight or nine games, is different.

“Always I like it, since I was a player. The league is nice and we are on the verge of that. We are close.”

City cannot afford any slip-ups against Steven Gerrard’s Villa side, or they will give Liverpool the chance to take their quadruple dream into the final match of the season.

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The league leaders were given a real scare in their last match, having to come from two-goals down at half-time to earn a point against West Ham, but Guardiola is confident that his players require no special instructions ahead of Sunday afternoon.

He said: “It is difficult to say ‘control your emotions’ when we know exactly what we are playing for. They are human beings, they have feelings.

“Maybe we will have to live through something unexpected, be uncomfortable, but what we can do is react the best way possible, be positive and don’t give up.

“In football when you think it’s over it’s not over. Just do exactly what you’ve done in the last month, all the games we’ve played, home and away, and go for it.

“Today we trained like for a normal Premier League game through the season, the same. It was nothing special because the importance of the game, they know it. There is nothing to tell them.”


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