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Jurgen Klopp lavishes praise on Pep Guardiola

Jurgen Klopp lavishes praise on Pep Guardiola
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Manchester United's 2-1 defeat to Leicester on Tuesday night confirmed Pep Guardiola's third Premier League title.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has called Pep Guardiola the best manager in the world as he congratulated Manchester City on an "exceptional" title success.

Manchester United's 2-1 defeat to Leicester on Tuesday night confirmed Guardiola's third Premier League title and City's fifth in the last decade as they succeeded Liverpool as champions.

Guardiola called it the "hardest" of his successes given the difficult circumstances of the pandemic, and a poor start to the season which left City eighth on Christmas Day, and Klopp agreed as he said their achievement stood out.

"A great achievement, congratulations," Klopp said. "I texted Pep last night and Ilkay (Gundogan, a player Klopp managed at Borussia Dortmund).

"It was a very difficult year for the whole world, for football teams as well, and what they achieved so far this year is exceptional.

"Five titles in 10 years – it's always like this when you bring together financial resources and football knowledge, you have a good chance to create something special and that is obviously the case.

"City has an incredible squad and the best manager in the world so that makes it a good recipe."

It is a ninth European league title as a manager for Guardiola, who won three LaLiga crowns with Barcelona and the Bundesliga three times with Bayern Munich.

The Catalan has described the Premier League the most difficult of the leagues to win, a verdict backed by Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti – a title winner with Chelsea 11 years ago – as he added his own congratulations.

"(City) had a fantastic season, playing really well, with a lot of consistency," the Italian said. "They were strong defensively also, and so they deserve to win, and congratulations.

"I think that the Premier League is the most difficult national competition in Europe for sure, because there are a lot of teams with a lot of quality.

"There are fantastic players here, there are fantastic managers here. It is the most difficult national competition in the world, and for sure I think to win here is not easy."

City – who beat Tottenham in the League Cup final last month – hope they are not done yet, chasing a treble when they face Chelsea in the Champions League final on May 29.

After that poor start, City turned their season around with a run of 21 straight wins, 15 of them coming in the Premier League, as one by one their rivals for the prize fell away.

"(It is) relief. It is a massive achievement," said Guardiola. "I think everything started in December when we won at Southampton until March 7 when we lost against United.

"In that period, we won absolutely everything, all the games and that made the Premier League possible."

Manchester City fans celebrate the club's Premier League triumph at the Etihad Stadium
Manchester City fans celebrated the club's Premier League triumph at the Etihad Stadium (Peter Byrne/PA)

Following confirmation of the title, City fans celebrated outside the Etihad Stadium.

Guardiola will relish the opportunity to mark the achievement with the club's supporters once again when some will be allowed into the ground for the final home match of the league season on May 23.

"I am looking forward to the Everton game, we will lift the trophy with 10,000 people I think who will be coming to the stadium, it will be incredible," Guardiola said in a video posted on the Manchester City Twitter page.

"This business without these people is not the same and hopefully next season we can enjoy it at all the Premier League teams."

On Wednesday, City's under-18s beat Burnley 1-0 to pip rivals United to the Premier League North title, making City the first club to win the Premier League title, the Premier League 2 trophy with the under-23s, and an under-18 title in the same season.

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola reacts on May 8, 2021
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