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Now is the toughest part of season: Pep

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola described the run-up to Christmas as the toughest part of the season and called on his players to continue their winning momentum in what is shaping up to be a three-way title tussle.

Guardiola's City claimed top spot in the English Premier League for the first time this season after a dominant 3-1 victory at Watford on Saturday with their fifth straight league win lifting them to 35 points - one ahead of Liverpool and two in front of Chelsea, who lost 3-2 at West Ham United.

"Today one team dropped points, next week it can be us or Liverpool. Many things can happen," Guardiola said.

"I'm more than pleased with what the guys have done in this tough period and now comes the toughest one for the amount of games, weather, injuries. We (will) keep going with this rhythm and try to play well."

Raheem Sterling opened the scoring for City in just the fourth minute before Bernardo Silva, who Guardiola called the best player in the EPL, struck twice.

The Hornets pulled one back through Cucho Hernandez 16 minutes from time after his initial effort came back off the post.

City will take on RB Leipzig in the Champions League group stage on Wednesday morning (Singapore time), kicking off a run of seven games in all competitions culminating on New Year's Day. - REUTERS

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