Pep Guardiola: Title experience won't be enough for Manchester City

Pep Guardiola: Title experience won't be enough for Manchester City

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has warned his players that their title-winning experience will not be enough to beat Arsenal to the title.

City moved back to within two points of the Gunners with victory against Bournemouth on Saturday as they chase what would be a fifth title in seven seasons under Guardiola.

Some of the current squad have been around for each of the club's previous four league triumphs, in contrast to Mikel Arteta's young Arsenal side who are challenging for the first time.

The Gunners have not been champions since 2003/04 when Arsene Wenger led the club through an unbeaten league season.

Nevertheless, City's manager pointed out that history shows how past titles alone cannot be a guarantee of success when things go down to the wire.

"I would like to say yes (our experience will be an advantage) but I don't know," said Guardiola. "That is the reality. Because every season is completely different.

"I put an example to my players about this kind of thing. In the Champions League final years ago, Milan v Liverpool (in 2005) when Liverpool made a good comeback. Milan in that period had the more experienced line-up - Maldini, Cafu, Gattuso, (manager) Carlo Ancelotti. And they lost.

"Football, when you think everything is under control and I know exactly what is going to happen, football punches you in the face and shows you the reality. This is the truth."

The 2005 final in Istanbul between Liverpool and AC Milan produced one of the greatest Champions League comebacks of all time, with Rafael Benitez's Reds storming back from three down at half-time to win on penalties and stun the Serie A giants.

At the time Liverpool had not tasted European success for 21 years, almost the same length of time that Arsenal have been starved of the Premier League title.

Arteta's side beat Leicester 1-0 on Saturday, a second straight win as they put their mini slump, which included a 3-1 defeat at the Emirates against City, behind them.

City briefly replaced them at the top of the league, but slipped back after drawing 1-1 with Nottingham Forest at the City ground last Saturday in a match they had dominated.

"After Nottingham we were sad because of how good we played," said Guardiola. "The performance was amazing. When I see what I've seen lately in the games, how we felt and how we tried to play, that made me feel we will fight until the end.

"I know how good is Arsenal so far, how good is United, Newcastle is still there. I'm thinking about Bristol (City in the FA Cup fifth round) now, it will be a tough game because my scout told me how seriously we have to take it.

"Then after Newcastle it's Crystal Palace and the Champions League. At the end, we'll see."