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Guardiola: EPL title could be decided on goal difference

Pep Guardiola believes the English Premier League title could come down to goal difference.

Hence, the Manchester City manager has told his team to widen their winning margins, he said in a press conference ahead of this morning's match against Everton.

Said the Spaniard: "The first message is to win the game and the second one is that if you can score, score, and if you can avoid to concede, do it.

"The Premier League could go to goal difference, I agree.

"We are not going to say to the guys that today we have to win 5-0. I never said that. First, you have to win the game and then second, try (to score more), because it can happen."

The only time the EPL title was decided on goal difference was in 2011/12, when City, under Roberto Mancini, pipped Manchester United to the crown by defeating Queens Park Rangers 3-2 with two stoppage-time goals in the final match of the season.

City circa 2019 are still in with a chance of completing a historic Quadruple of the Champions League, EPL, FA Cup and League Cup, but Guardiola is concerned at the intense physical demands that will place on his squad.

A run of seven games across the four competitions this month is not quite as demanding a schedule as the nine matches they faced during December, three of which City lost.

However, Guardiola suggested that with more at stake this month, the task facing his squad is tougher.

After hosting Chelsea on Sunday, City meet fourth-tier Newport County in an FA Cup fifth-round clash, travel to Schalke 04 for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie and face Chelsea in the League Cup final.

Said Guardiola: "When I was abroad and before I came here, everyone talked about December.

"But when Boxing Day was finished and I saw the schedule (for February), I said, 'But this is worse'. Even worse. That is true.

"If you are out of more competitions, it is more comfortable. February is tougher than December. January brings the Carabao (League) Cup and FA Cup with teams from the Championship and League One - with all respect it is different.

"Now we have Chelsea and they can prepare all week and we know how well Maurizio Sarri will prepare for the game.

"We have Schalke and the final of Carabao Cup and Premier League. It is what it is but it is nice and I prefer to be there." - AFP