Gary Neville has neatly summed up why this Manchester City side are not yet the greatest Premier League team ever, but could be one day.
City are on the verge of winning their third Premier League title in seven years after beating Tottenham 3-1 on Saturday. Read 16 Conclusions. Cheers.
The Wembley victory ended a run of three consecutive defeats to Liverpool and Manchester United in their most difficult week of the season.
Their exit from the Champions League raised ridiculous questions over Guardiola’s success, but Neville has hit the nail on the head on his Sky Sports podcast.
“There have been a lot of things said over the last couple months, where I’ve sat back and thought: ‘Really?’
“Those saying this is the greatest team of all time, or the greatest Premier League team of all time. It’s not. I don’t even think Pep Guardiola would say it is.
“A great team gets to a good level and progresses. Great players get to a good level and progress, or maintain that standard.
“It’s consistency that Pep Guardiola wants all of the time. You can see in his reaction when somebody gives the ball away unforced. He absolutely despises it. A bad pass is a crime to him.
“They will win the league, it has been an excellent performance this season, and this has been a really good Manchester City team, one of the best seasons we’ve seen.
“But to be a great side, come back next year, maintain the standard or improve on it. Go on and win the Champions League.
“What we’ve seen in these past five years is that when Chelsea and City have won leagues, they’ve not been able to maintain it.
“Great sides maintain a standard. Great players and managers maintain a standard. Lionel Messi, Neymar, Pep Guardiola at Barcelona; he maintained a standard year after year, and so did his players.
“That, to me, is what defines great sides.
“This is definitely not a failure. It’s a wonderful, wonderful season.
“I think four weeks ago, when people were saying this is the greatest team, they were going far too early, and far too much. But now, to suggest this is a failure is ridiculous the other way.
“This is a wonderful season for Manchester City; to win two trophies is a great feat. This is a new Manchester City team, this is a different team, a transition, they play a different style.
“For me that is a big thing. Pep Guardiola has won back-to-back titles in two different trophies. He’s won Champions Leagues with Barcelona, he knows what a great team is, he knows what great standards are.
“He’ll know that this Manchester City team are at the beginning of a journey, and that’s the key thing. It has to be the beginning of the journey: winning the league is the beginning, it can’t be the end.
“And that’s the focal point for Pep Guardiola to instill into Manchester City as a club, that when you win a league and a trophy it’s not good enough alone, you have to come back next season after and do it again, and then come back again the season and do it again.”
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