Pep Guardiola says ‘nothing changes’ in the Premier League title race with Liverpool after Manchester City moved up four points and praised four-goal hero Gabriel Jesus.
City dismantled a relegation-threatened Watford 5-1 on Saturday, seeing them extend their gap over second-placed Liverpool to four points.
However, it could all be temporary as Jurgen Klopp’s Reds take on Everton in the Merseyside derby on Super Sunday, live on sky sports starting at 16h.
Guardiola understandably minimized the gap to four points, calling every Premier League game played at the moment a ‘final’.
He said sky sports: “Nothing changes. When we won against Brighton we were two points behind [before the game], now we are four in front. Brighton was a ‘final’. We had another “final” today and we won it. We now have the opportunity to play a ‘final’ against Leeds.
“Nothing changes. We have to win all five games to be champions.
“We started by scoring a goal in the first minutes of the first half and in the second half it was good. We didn’t defend well behind, we weren’t aggressive enough. Defending is about attitude, it’s not about skills or abilities, and we weren’t good.
“But the players up front, not just Gabriel Jesus for his incredible four goals, but Raheem, Jack, Kevin, all of them, they’ve been brilliant.”
Not only did Jesus score an impressive goal – netting twice in each half – he also assisted a rocket from Rodri for City’s third goal.
“If there was one person who deserved the best of his life for himself, his family and his friends, it’s Gabriel,” Guardiola said of his striker.
“All of us at the club and in the locker room, when he has one of those situations, we’re happy for him because he’s so generous and no matter what position he’s going to play, he always fights, he always helps for his friends. It was fantastic.
Jesus: It was my day
Jesus scored his fourth career hat-trick and his first since three goals against Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League in November 2019.
He is the fifth Brazilian to score a Premier League hat-trick, after Afonso Alves, Robinho, Roberto Firmino and Lucas Moura, but the first to score four in a single game.
Jesus also became the second City player to be directly involved in five goals in a single Premier League game. [four goals, one assist]after Sergio Aguero scored five against Newcastle in October 2015.
“It was my day,” said Gabriel Jesus sky sports.
“It was my first hat-trick in the Premier League. I try it, sometimes I score two and hit the post, the defender blocks, the keeper saves. Today was my day. I’m very happy three points, the team played so well this afternoon. We deserved it.”
The service to Jesus was also first class, with Kevin De Bruyne producing a fine assist for the second of his four goals.
“He’s an amazing player, he always tries to get the ball in the box,” Jesus said of his teammate. “When I play on the right side, I try to do the same but he is obviously better than me! Always when he has the ball, I try to go into the box to finish and today I was happy that he gave a very good cross and I could direct him.”
Jesus is also focused on City’s task, rather than worrying about Liverpool, but admitted closing the goal difference gap was on their minds.
He added: “We have to do our job and not rely on them. [Liverpool]. We know they have a lot of amazing players who can win every game. We are ahead, it’s not easy, but we have to do our job.
“This [goal difference] helps so much. Sometimes we create a lot of chances and we don’t score. This afternoon we scored, we mostly won the game, but we are also thinking about goals.”
Hodgson: City caused mistakes and capitalized
For Watford, it was another tough afternoon against City. Although Hassane Kamara offered a glimmer of hope by making it 2-1 in the 28th minute, the Hornets were simply outclassed by a superior team.
“It was always going to be a difficult afternoon because we are playing the champions and a team that is fighting to be champions for the second year in a row,” Watford manager Roy Hodgson told Sky Sports.
“If you then concede goals in the very first few minutes, you’ve made your life far too difficult against a team of Man City’s quality. In the end, when those things happen, you can so easily find yourself at the end of a heavy defeat.
Man City make history
Manchester City have now won 15 consecutive games against Watford in all competitions, the longest winning streak ever by an English league team over another. The overall score of these 15 meetings is 58-8.
“There’s always a silver lining if you defend properly and make sure they don’t score their goals too easily. There’s always opportunists and hope on the counter-attack that you can do something. thing.
“That was the case today, but the pressure is always on the defense and that unfortunately causes mistakes and they knew how to take advantage of that.”
With five games to play – including vital fixtures against Burnley and Everton – Watford remain seven points from safety, but Hodgson remains optimistic they can beat the drop.
Sky Sports’ Paul Merson on Man City…
“When it’s a goal you never know because if one of those two teams leaves one late and draws that’s really it in my opinion. But then Rodri scores and Jesus in the second half They just play at a gallop. It’s really scary.
He added: “There are five games left which also gives us a lot of hope, but we have to make sure we cut out some of the mistakes we were forced to make today and concede goals that way. .
“But I think there’s every chance that against the teams around us now, we can definitely play better. Individuals can give better performances than they did today.
“But to be honest with everyone, they cause these mistakes and make your life difficult and that’s why they’re top of the league and we’re near the bottom.”
Manchester City match schedule:
To rearrange: Wolves (a) premier league
Tuesday – Real Madrid (h) Champions League SF first leg
April 30 – Leeds premier leaguelive on Sky Sports
May 4 – Real Madrid (a) SF Champions League second leg
May 8 – Newcastle (h) Premier League, live on Sky Sports
May 15 – West Ham (a) Premier League, live on Sky Sports
May 22 – Villa Aston (h) premier league
May 28 – Champions League Final *
* Subject to progress
Watford’s remaining fixtures
April 30 – Burnley (h)
May 7 – Crystal Palace (a)
May 10 – Everton (h)
May 15 – Leicester (h)