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Manchester City admit nerves, focused on not repeating previous final day title drama

LONDON — Kyle Walker revealed that Manchester City are feeling the nerves and emotion in the Premier League title race and reminded everyone 'we are humans' ahead of the final day of the season.

Walker spoke to the media after City’s 2-0 win at Spurs on Tuesday and said he'd been struggling to sleep given the anxiety, nerves and excitement building to a crescendo in the title race.

Heading into their home game against West Ham on Sunday, City know if they win the game they win a record fourth-straight Premier League title. No team in English history has won fourth-straight top-flight titles. But if they slip up then Arsenal can win the title.

After mentioning the final day drama against Aston Villa two seasons ago — City were 2-0 down at home knowing a win would seal the title and they roared back to win 3-2 late on — Pro Soccer Talk asked Kyle Walker what lessons they've learned from that kind of situation they've been involved in a lot over the years, and how it can help them against West Ham on Sunday.

“Do you want a sensible answer or a funny answer!? Don’t go 2-0 down!” Walker laughed. “It’s as simple as that. Don’t go 2-0 down and don’t put yourself in that situation where you’re scrambling to get Gundo [former City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan] to come up with prime Zidane moments. It’s as simple as that.”

City are heavy favorites against West Ham but the pressure and nerves of the situation can do strange things (see: QPR in 2012 and Aston Villa in 2022). City got over the line on both occasions but even this current team, one of the greatest teams we've ever seen, has shown signs of defensive fragility throughout this season.

Nerves playing their part as pressure builds

"Sometimes people forget we are humans and the emotions, nerves, adrenaline, everything is running through your body. I couldn't sleep last night and scrambling to get half an hour at the hotel today. Everything is going through your head," Walker explained.

He also revealed what Pep Guardiola told Man City at half time of the Spurs game, when the score was 0-0 and the margins were razor thin: "As long as you can look each other in the eyes come the end of the game and say that we've done our best, that is all that I ask."

Walker and Manchester City know there's no room for error on Sunday. If City lose or draw against West Ham and Arsenal win against Everton then City will finish as runners up.

Walker knows now is the time to deliver. Just like he and his City teammates have done so many times over the years.

"If you don't like playing in these games you shouldn't play football," Walker said. "These are the games you want to play in. I think this is what separates really good players from the average players. That you can go with the tense atmosphere, with the pressure of the club on you and you need to provide. The pay us well and we are professionals and we need to provide for this club like we have done over this last number of years."