BRIGHTON – Pep Guardiola said Manchester City’s 2018/19 Premier League success was the toughest title triumph of his illustrious career.
City came from behind to win 4-1 away to Brighton on Sunday’s final day of the season – a result that meant the reigning champions finished just a point in front of second-placed Liverpool, who won 2-0 at home to Wolves.
In most seasons, Liverpool’s tally of 97 points would have seen them crowned champions.
Guardiola, celebrating his eighth domestic championship in 10 seasons that have featured La Liga and Bundesliga titles with Barcelona and Bayern Munich, was in no doubt about Liverpool’s quality.
"We have to say congratulations to Liverpool and thank you so much – they pushed us to increase our standards," he told Sky Sports.
"It’s incredible, 98 points, to go back-to-back. We made the standard higher last season and Liverpool helped us – to win this title we had to win 14 (league games) in a row. We couldn’t lose one point."
The Catalan manager insisted: "It’s the toughest title we have won in all my career, by far."
Sunday’s result meant Liverpool’s wait for a maiden Premier League title – their last domestic championship was in 1990 – goes on, although they could yet win the Champions League if they beat Tottenham Hotspur when the English rivals meet in a Madrid final on June 1.
Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah, whose 22 goals this season made him a joint-winner of the Premier League’s golden boot award, said the Anfield club would challenge again next term.
"We only lost one (Premier League) game all season," the Egypt forward said. "We gave everything. We got 97 points. We will fight next season for the title."