Gary Lineker has hailed Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola as a football genius, but he has dismissed the notion that this season’s Premier League title race has already be won by the blue half of Manchester.
City will head into Sunday’s derby game against Manchester United with an eight-point lead on their local rivals after a 13-game winning run that has established Guardiola’s team as a firm favourites for the English title, but Lineker has told Yahoo Sport that it is too soon to declare the title battle as a one-horse race just 15 games into the season.
“The title race is not over, of course it isn’t,” BT Sport presenter Lineker told us. “City have a wonderful squad, but what happens if Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero are all out at the same time?
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“As we saw when Pogba was taken out of the United team, they lost something important and injuries to key players can unsettle a team, even if City are playing as well as they have been this season. Our league is so physical and City cannot continue to win game after game like they have done for the last few weeks.
“We have seen a few signs that they are not winning games quite so convincingly in the last few matches and that has to give United and the rest of the chasing pack a little bit of hope. Nothing is a given and the mood around a team can change very quickly, but you would expect Manchester City to go on and win the Premier League from the position they are in now.”
Lineker has backed City and United to maintain a push for glory in the Premier League and Champions League through to the back end of this season, with his admiration for Guardiola evident in this tribute.
“I think he is a genius, it’s as simple as that,” stated Lineker. “The philosophy he has for the game is so clever and the way he improves players is so impressive. He tries to outscore the opposition as a striker myself, I would love to have been a part of his teams.
“His football is joyous, it’s wonderful, it’s beautiful. Of course he needs world class players to make it work and he has had them at every club he has been at, but he has done a wonderful job at City.
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“They have lots of money, but they have not gone out and sign Lionel Messi or Neymar to get them to where they are. They have made shrewd signings, with some English players in there as well, which is great to see. They have signed players to fit into a system and a team that is working wonderfully well and Guardiola and the club’s recruitment team deserve the plaudits and the success coming their way now.”
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