| Guardiola expects more from title rivals

Cape Town – Pep Guardiola insists Manchester City are starting from scratch in the defence of their Premier League crown, as he braces himself for a tougher challenge from their title rivals.

City reached 100 points as they dominated the Premier League last season, with a 19-point buffer separating them from second placed Manchester United.

But boss Guardiola expects the rest of the Premier League’s top six clubs to mount a sterner threat this time around, with Liverpool investing heavily, and Arsenal and Chelsea under the stewardship of new managers.

Ahead of Sunday’s clash with Arsenal, the former Barcelona manager added that City’s performances last season are no guarantee that they can have such success again.

“We were the best, definitely, no doubts about that, but we don’t play alone. We can do our job but the others can do their job too,” said Guardiola.

“We can do our job the same as last season but maybe Liverpool or United, Arsenal, Chelsea or Tottenham can do much better and they win.

“We can be excellent but the others can be excellent too. We cannot deny the other contenders. There was a gap last season but this season I don’t know.

“Because of what we did last season now we are going to win? Nobody can assure me of that. We start again. That is why it is fascinating, it is a new challenge.

“But winning helps to win more. During the season we will have really bad moments – it is impossible to have the perfect season all the time – but when you win one title you can win another one. It helps for the future to know that.”

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