fbpx Skip to main content

Pep Guardiola may not understand the phrase “squeaky bum time” but the Manchester City boss admits he feels “tension” heading into final week of the Premier League season.

When Sir Alex Ferguson’s famous “squeaky bum time” comment, made in 2003 when the then Manchester United boss was trying to heap pressure on title rivals Arsenal, was put to the City manager it drew a puzzled look.

“Translate please,” said Guardiola. When City’s press officer tried to explain it in a way suitable for a public press conference, he got the meaning.

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson famous phrase is flagged every year as the season reaches its climax (Nick Potts/PA)

“A lot of pressure? Why didn’t Sir Alex make an easier sentence for this moment?” said Guardiola, speaking ahead of his side’s trip to Tottenham on Tuesday.

”Now? No. Tomorrow we will feel the tension and the nerves. Of course we will feel it, otherwise it would be a bad sign.

“Every game I feel the right tension, but at the same time I focus on what to do and read what is happening in the game.

“I try to not be so excited to take bad decisions and make my players a little bit anxious for my behaviour; sometimes it happened unfortunately for me and the team.

“I don’t think any competitive football player or manager is numb and relaxed, saying: ‘It doesn’t matter’. Of course we know what we are playing for.

“It is like a quarter-final, semi-final second-leg Champions League or FA Cup. It is something you can’t get back so it’s simple. Win – OK. Lose – bye, bye. So not very complicated.”

City head to Spurs looking to open up a two-point lead over Arsenal at the top of the table heading into the final weekend of the season.

They are attempting to become the first club to win the English top flight for a fourth successive time.

“In the beginning of the season we don’t think at all about four Premier Leagues,” added Guardiola.

“But the moment you don’t think City (can) win one Premier League I go home. If we are in February, March, April, it’s in our heads that no team has done it. That shows how difficult it is.

“Liverpool in the 80s, Sir Alex Ferguson in the 90s, Chelsea with (Roman) Abramovich and Arsenal with (Arsene) Wenger haven’t done it.

“Opponents are better, (there are) injuries, many circumstances that mean you can’t do it.”

Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan lifts the Premier League trophy
Manchester City are pursuing an unprecedented fourth successive Premier League title (Martin Rickett/PA)

City extending their dominance to a fourth successive title would inevitably lead to accusations the Premier League has become boring, but Guardiola disagrees.

“People say we will win it because we won it in the past but that doesn’t mean it will happen today,” he said.

“Otherwise all the teams (who have won it) still would be winning instead of just winning one. We like to prove they are right but we have to do it.

“It’s boring? It’s not. It is so difficult. Before do you know what it was? It was the money.

“It was the reason why Man United should have won all the titles. All of them. And the second Chelsea, all the titles. And third Arsenal. All the titles.

“They spend much more in the last five years than us net. They should be there but they are not.”