Pep Guardiola says Manchester City knew they could win the Premier League title after beating Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
City were crowned champions in something of an anti-climax on Sunday, when Manchester United failed to beat West Brom.
That left City 16 points ahead of their bitter rivals with just five games remaining.
Guardiola’s side have led the way for almost all of the season, boasting a sizeable lead since beating United at Old Trafford in December.
But the Spaniard says the 1-0 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in September, with Kevin de Bruyne scoring the only goal, was the watershed moment.
“I think winning at Stamford Bridge gave us the confidence that we could do it. Because last season against other contenders we were not so good. We won few games,” Guardiola said.
“Winning at Stamford Bridge gave us a feeling of, ‘OK, against the last champions, we are able to come here and play.’
“But in general we were so, so stable. And OK, Sergio [Aguero] is a genius, a top player about 30 years old but the other guys are 20, 21 years old, so we won with guys so young.
“Playing in the Champions League at that age, sometimes it is complicated. But maybe it will be a lesson for the future for them and next season.
“Now we have to try [to get better]. If you read what the people say this week we have to improve. But you cannot deny that we were good this season. Every single day.
“To win 18 games in a row winning you have to be mentally strong.
“That is important to build up the club. It is important to believe because Manchester City is not like United or Chelsea or Arsenal – you know, the big clubs in England who have a big history behind them.
“So sometimes you have to do these kinds of things to think, ‘Wow, we are good. We are good too, like the other ones.’ And maybe that helps us. That is the target. Of course it’s not going to happen next season the same – it’s impossible.
“But that is the target. You have to try to be more consistent next season. It will be more complicated but for the club, the players, all the departments in the club, the people can believe we are good: Manchester City is a good club.
“That will be good.”
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