Guardiola claims finishing in the top four is as good as lifting silverware

Guardiola claims finishing in the top four is as good as lifting silverware

Qualifying for the Champions League has to be considered as good as winning a trophy, according to Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola ahead of his side’s top-four showdown with Arsenal.

Guardiola, who used to win titles at a canter with Barcelona and Bayern Munich, says he agrees with counterpart Arsene Wenger that finishing in a Champions League spot is like lifting silverware because of the unique strength in depth of the Premier Leauge.

‘Here, yes. Definitely,’ said Guardiola, aware that Wenger has finished in the top four for 20 years in a row though the run is under serious threat this season.

‘I’m not saying it’s more important than winning the FA Cup. But it’s like winning titles, definitely, because there are so many strong teams.

‘We will try to be there but all six teams desire that, so two teams will be out. I don’t know if even Everton will be involved in that. It’s amazing that Chelsea and Liverpool didn’t play in Europe, they didn’t even make the Europa League last season. That’s how difficult it is and I think every season will be tougher.’

City can move 10 points ahead of Arsenal if they complete the double over Wenger’s side at The Emirates.

Raheem Sterling scored the winner in City’s 2-1 home win against Arsenal in December to put City back on track after defeats to Chelsea and Leicester.

The Londoner, who started his career at QPR, said: ”I love playing against Arsenal, it’s always been a thing for me, even when I was younger.

‘Going away to their training ground was always a massive day for me because I liked their style of play. This is another massive game for us and hopefully another good day.

‘I’m more than confident we can challenge (for the top four) and possibly even more as well because we have some great players. We want to be challenging to be the best each year. Chelsea might be ahead right now but we’ve got to keep winning our games.

‘Everything in our play is forward, everything is quick, the tempo is quick. I love where we win the ball back because we’re closer to the opponents goal so it’s really good.’

City and Arsenal will meet again the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on April 23.

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