'Job done' for Guardiola despite title uncertainty

'Job done' for Guardiola despite title uncertainty

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola. Reuters

Pep Guardiola has insisted his Manchester City players have already done their jobs this season -- regardless of whether they succeed in becoming the first team in a decade to retain the Premier League title.

The closest race for an English top-flight crown in recent memory is heading into its closing stages with City or Liverpool doomed to be disappointed at its outcome.

But Guardiola firmly believes his City team is playing better now than it did 12 months ago, when it was on the brink of compiling a record 100 Premier League points.

And given the impressive nature of their title defence, Guardiola has already told his players that the job "is done", even though the outcome of their bid to win the league and FA Cup, in addition to the League Cup they lifted in February, hangs in the balance.

"Why should I judge what we have done for the results if at the last moment, for example, what happened in the Champions League (happens)?," said Guardiola ahead of his team's trip to Turf Moor as he recalled their dramatic late reversal of fortune in a European quarterfinal defeat by Tottenham.

"We will be judged if we lift the title or not?," the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss added. "The players and I have spoken many times - for you, the job is done.

"In terms of me, our fans and our people, it is done. You had success this season. Hats off! But of course we want to win it (the league). We are not going to say 'it's enough, the manager told us how good we have done and we're not going to win it'.

"No, no, no. We want to win it for sure. We want to win the Premier League," the Catalan manager insisted. "Maybe more than last season, to do something unique for this club. We want to do it.

"But I will not judge them. I will not tell them because of many circumstances, it's happened. You have to try to avoid it, but it can happen." -

City have suffered a drop-off in form from very few players this season, with the injury-plagued Kevin De Bruyne arguably the only senior star who has not hit the heights he achieved 12 months ago.

But Guardiola said City still had collective room for improvement -- which he wanted to oversee.

"If I felt we could not improve it would make no sense to continue together here," he said. "Still there are things we can do quicker, understand what we have to do in a better way. We are going to improve individually and collectively. So I don't have doubts about that."