MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – Manchester City may appear to be a relentless winning-machine, but manager Pep Guardiola wants his side’s legacy to be that their period of Premier League dominance was “fun” as the team close in on their sixth title.
City lead the standings on 89 points, three ahead of Liverpool with two games to play. Thanks to their superior goal difference, a win against West Ham United on Sunday would all but assure them of a second successive league triumph.
Despite amassing eight trophies during his tenure, Guardiola, who has yet to extend his contract beyond 2023, wants his side to be remembered for their style of play and sense of joy.
“We have fun. That is the best legacy, when we are in something in our lives, doesn’t matter if professional, you have fun,” the Spaniard told a news conference on Friday.
“Football is nice because behind you is a lot of people, our fans. I want City fans to say in that period we were fun, we play good, this is the best legacy. Emotional, give something unique watching our games, that is the best reward.”
City’s title rivals Liverpool play the FA Cup final against Chelsea on Saturday and won’t be in league action again until Tuesday against Southampton.
By then, City could be six points ahead but Guardiola was not taking a win at West Ham for granted.
“West Ham (have) done two extraordinary seasons, this season in the Europa League… An incredible season, so strong in all departments, set pieces, the quality upfront, with (Manuel) Lanzini, (Pablo) Fornals, (Jarrod) Bowen,” he said.
“A top side, difficult, but we know how important it is to get three points. An incredible step to try and finish the job at home (in final game) with our people.”
Guardiola was speaking not long after City had unveiled a statue of former striker Sergio Aguero outside the Eithad on the 10th anniversary of his winning goal against Queens Park Rangers that earned the team their first Premier League title in 2012.
The Argentine joined Barcelona on a free transfer last year but retired in December at the age of 33 because of health complications.
Guardiola said the statue was a fitting tribute for City’s all-time top goalscorer (260).
“More than deserved, a great honour for Sergio and his family,” he said. “An icon of this club, of course with a great anniversary of the goal he scored in 93 minutes. Not just for that, for all his career here.”
(Reporting by Christian Radnedge; Editing by Toby Davis)