Pep Guardiola thanked Liverpool for pushing Manchester City to levels even he thought were impossible after the champions retained the Premier League title on the final day of the season.
City came from behind at Brighton to secure a 14th consecutive victory, ending the season on 98 points to become the first side to retain the Premier League crown since 2009.
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Liverpool’s bid to be crowned champions for the first time in 29 years fell agonisingly short as they finished a point behind City, but Guardiola saluted the Reds’ relentless challenge after their role in the toughest title win of his career.
“First of all, we have to say congratulations to Liverpool, of course, and thank you so much,” the City boss told Sky Sports.
“They helped to push us and to increase our standards from last season because to compete against this team pushed us to do what we have done.
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“It’s incredible, 198 points in two seasons to go back-to-back. We made the standard higher last season and Liverpool helped us to be there all of the time.
“To win this title we had to win 14 in a row. We knew for two or three months that we couldn’t lose one point. This was the toughest title we have won in all my career by far.”