Sergio Aguero, Pep Guardiola, More Comment on Manchester City's EPL Title Win

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistMay 12, 2019

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - MAY 12: Sergio Aguero of Manchester City  celebrates with the Premier League Trophy after winning the title following the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Manchester City at American Express Community Stadium on May 12, 2019 in Brighton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Pep Guardiola congratulated and thanked Liverpool for helping newly crowned Premier League champions Manchester City reach new standards by winning the "toughest title" in his career.

City retained the title after beating Brighton & Hove Albion 4-1 away on Sunday, and Guardiola told Sky Sports how the runners-up, who won 2-0 at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers, helped "us to push and to increase our standards from the last season."

Those standards were already high after City became the first team to win the title with 100 points last season. Although this vintage finished a mere two points short of matching the Centurions, a case can be made for this team being even better.

Most of that case would rest on the quality of the competition, with Liverpool pushing Guardiola's men all the way to the final day. Guardiola has felt the pressure, admitting, per BBC Sport: "To win the title we had to win 14 games in a row. This was the toughest title in all my career, by far."

There was more than a little pressure on City once Glenn Murray headed in a corner for Brighton after 27 minutes. Conceding from a set-piece is nothing new to Guardiola, who acknowledged his team has an obvious weakness in the area:

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Unfortunately for Liverpool, defending set-pieces may be the only weakness in this City team, with Guardiola's men rallying to score a quartet of quality goals in response.

Coming up short by a point left Reds manager Jurgen Klopp in a philosophical mood:

However, the German promised his powerful squad is primed to go from strength to strength in the coming seasons:

It's a reasonable assertion considering how close the Reds came to ruining City's ambitions. Through smart and ambitious spending, allied with progressive tactics based on intense pressing, Klopp has turned Liverpool into a formidable force at both ends of the pitch.

A back four led by centre-back Virgil van Dijk, the most expensive defender on the planet, finished as the stingiest unit in the land. Meanwhile, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah scored 22 league goals apiece to earn a share of the Golden Boot award with Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, per BBC Sport.

This is a squad built to dominate for a while:

Of course, City aren't going anywhere and in striker Sergio Aguero boast a four-time league winner who is showing no signs of slowing down in front of goal. Aguero scored his 21st league goal of the campaign to prompt City's comeback after Murray had put the Seagulls in front.

Murray's goal, along with Mane's opener against Wolves, made it look as though the title would go to Anfield. Yet those hopes were quashed when Aguero equalised less than 90 seconds later.

The Argentinian told Sky Sports how he and his teammates "couldn't think" about what their nearest rivals were doing. Instead, Aguero and Co. had been instructed to "focus" only on their own result.

This kind of precise determination has provided the impetus behind City's back-to-back title triumphs. There is more to play for with the FA Cup final against Watford at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, 18 May offering the chance to complete an historic domestic treble.

With Guardiola pushing players as talented as Aguero to produce even more, there's little reason to believe City won't reach similar heights next season.

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