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For the fifth time in six years, Manchester City were crowned champions of England. Arsenal’s failures helped their cause but Pep Guardiola’s men steamrolled all and sundry who stood in their path.
The champions were handed the Premier League trophy after their 1-0 win over Chelsea with a second-string contingent. It was a hard-fought victory over the beleaguered Blues but one that sent the City dressing room on a run of celebrations and partying.
The festivities continued until Manchester was coloured Sky Blue, leaving Guardiola worried about his squad’s preparations for their upcoming fixture against Brighton Hove & Albion. The Catalan wanted his players to relax but does not want to drop the ball in their remaining fixtures.
City Battle to a Draw
Phil Foden hit the back of the net with 25 minutes on the clock. The England international making the most of an Erling Haaland ball to score his 11th goal of the season. City’s lead was short-lived as Paraguayan sensation Julio Enciso equalized within the first half.
Despite the dropped points, Guardiola was pleased with his charges. The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager acknowledged the tough trenches dug but the Seagulls and hailed his players for showing why they are the best.
🎥 Highlights: Brighton & Hove Albion 🔵1-1🔴 Manchester City
🔴 Foden (25)
🔵 Enciso (38)
Goal Highlight. Premier League. BHAFC. MCFC. #PL #BHAMCIpic.twitter.com/XNXlMGCajh
— Football Lover ⚽️❤ (@Arsenalova) May 25, 2023
“I was a little bit worried about how much we would drop our (level) with what we had done the last four, five, six months,” said Guardiola. “Forty hours (ago) we drank all the alcohol in Manchester and the way they played was outstanding.
“I enjoyed it a lot, especially being champions.
“You have to come here to win the game, we know it will be tough. They are a fantastic team in all departments, that’s why they are in the Europa League, well deserved.
“And also we showed why we are the best team in England.”
De Zerbi Gives Another Masterclass
Prior to the Premier League duel, Guardiola hailed Brighton manager Roberto de Zerbi as one of the more influential managers in the last twenty years. The Italian proved his worth as the determined Seagulls took the game to their rivals.
Given City’s pedigree and the players they boast, it is easy to assume they were the more dangerous side. However, with 20 shots on target, the most by any side against City in the 2022/23 campaign, Brighton looked the more dangerous side.
De Zerbi about build up, the 3rd man, how to brake rival's pressure, the goalkeeper role🤯
Great webinar 2 HOURS and 22 minutes long.
He explains all the his build up with game clips, and training sessions.
To see it complete with English subtitles, send me DM! Follow me🥰 pic.twitter.com/oYlh421eGt
— Juani Jimena (@JimenaJuani) May 24, 2023
De Zerbi thanked Guardiola for his kind words, which certainly meant a lot to him as the Catalan was the reason for him taking up coaching. The Italian also praised his charges for giving their much-fancied rivals a tough time on the pitch.
“I became a coach for Guardiola because I loved his Barcelona,” De Zerbi said while talking to Sky Sports. “I studied him a lot. I don’t want to copy no-one but I took [ideas] when I started to be a coach. Pep is number one.”
“It was very tough,” De Zerbi added. “We knew to play against Manchester City is always tough. We played very well, we deserved the point and we deserve to play in the Europa League.
“[I was pleased with] the courage. To defend man-to-man, to play the ball in every situation. We didn’t lose our style.
“Julio’s goal was incredible. He has big, big potential, but I want him to play better and play for the team. If he stays with us I think he can improve.”