Pep Guardiola has no doubts that Manchester City’s top-five rivals are capable of winning the Premier League title this season.
The Premier League champions are top on goal difference but a defeat in Monday’s trip to Tottenham Hotspur along with victories for Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal would see City drop out of the top-four.
“I don’t have doubt about that,” Guardiola told a news conference when asked if all of the top five could compete for the title. “There’s just two points difference between four, five or six teams and they are so strong — you see the lineup, the first 11, 12 players from Tottenham.
“The last four, five years Tottenham are always there.”
Guardiola praised the quality of Spurs and said they would be even stronger had they been able to spend on new players in the summer. Mauricio Pochettino did not add any players to his squad with the club spending around £400 million on a new stadium.
“They can’t invest in players because of the incredible stadium and it’s a lot of money and they don’t have [anything to] spend but they are a top side,” Guardiola added. “It was my first defeat here and we realised how strong they are. Last season, we did it really in both games but the team continue with good players.”
Guardiola has almost a full squad to choose from with Kevin De Bruyne making his first start of the season in Tuesday’s Champions League victory at Shakhtar Donetsk.
Fabian Delph, Ikay Gundogan and Danilo are doubts but, with his side scoring 20 goals on their way to six wins from their last seven games, the City boss admits that it’s difficult to leave players out of his first team.