Pep Guardiola disagrees with Man United boss Jose Mourinho on Premier League title race

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Pep Guardiola says Manchester City do not have the title sewn up.

Pep Guardiola disagrees with rival manager Jose Mourinho that the Premier League title race is as good as over.

Guardiola’s Manchester City hold a 15-point lead over Mourinho’s Manchester United, who are their nearest challengers after 25 games.

Mourinho said at a news conference on Friday that United “have to try to finish second” but Guardiola immediately responded by saying all was still to play for.

Speaking at his own press conference to preview Saturday’s trip to Burnley, Guardiola said: “There are 13 games, 39 points to play (for). We have (a lead of) 15. It’s not over.

“We have amazing, tough games to play, for example tomorrow. We cannot deny how complicated it is playing at Burnley.

“After that we have to go to Stoke City, Goodison Park, we have games against Arsenal, Tottenham, United, Chelsea. Definitely it’s not over.”

City have already beaten Burnley twice at the Etihad Stadium this season – 3-0 in the league and 4-1 in the FA Cup – but neither were as straightforward as the final scorelines suggest.

The Clarets are enjoying an outstanding campaign and will go into the game seventh in the table.

Guardiola said: “Last season we won there but it was one of the toughest games we played. It will be tough.

“We have to avoid fouls, we have to control the second balls and long balls to (Ashley) Barnes in the box.

“They are masters, they are one of the best in the Premier League in this style. In this system they create a lot of pressure.

“In free-kicks and corners they are so good. We have to avoid it this kind of game as much as possible and do our game to make another step to the title race.”

Playmaker David Silva is doubtful for the game after leaving the field with a side injury in the midweek victory over West Brom.

“On Thursday he could not train,” Guardiola said. “He was recovering. He had a painful kick in the side. We are going to see today how he feels.”

Guardiola delivered a positive update on long-term knee injury victim Benjamin Mendy, saying he was on course to return to training some time in March. Striker Gabriel Jesus still requires “four or five weeks of rest” after a knee injury.

A number of City players have been on the receiving end of some bad tackles in recent weeks, prompting Guardiola to call for for better protection from referees, but he did not want to discuss that matter further.

He said: “I’ve said enough. I think we were clear. Playing football again – tomorrow at 1230 (4:30PM GST) – that’s what I’m thinking about.”

Provided by Press Association Sport 

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Virgil van Dijk will be at his best next season, says Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp

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Liverpool have suffered two shock losses since Van Dijk joined the club.

Liverpool fans will not see the best of £75million centre-back Virgil van Dijk until next season, according to Reds boss Jurgen Klopp.

The Dutchman joined the Merseysiders right at the start of January and made an instant impact, scoring the winner against derby rivals Everton in the FA Cup third round.

He has struggled with a hamstring injury since, and Klopp admits it may be that his true worth is not seen for a while yet.

“We will see his best after the summer,” Klopp said.

“The defending style is different to Southampton and Holland so it makes sense you get used to it.”

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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's Arsenal debut in doubt as sickness strikes

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger may be forced to wait to hand club record signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang his debut after the Gabon striker missed training on Friday due to illness.

Aubameyang joined the Gunners from Borussia Dortmund in a £56 million switch on Wednesday, but may be forced to sit out Saturday’s visit of Everton.

“Aubameyang was sick, so we will assess him,” said Wenger on Friday.

Arsenal are hoping Aubameyang can reignite his prolific partnership with former Dortmund teammate Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who also joined from Manchester United last month as part of the deal that took Alexis Sanchez to Old Trafford.

A unusually busy transfer window for Wenger also saw Olivier Giroud join Chelsea, while Theo Walcott could quickly come back to haunt the side he played with for over a decade when he returns to the Emirates in an Everton shirt.

Out-of-favour Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi also joined Dortmund to complete a striker swap triangle between the two London sides and the German giants.

“It was difficult because of course Dortmund needed a replacement,” added Wenger on the drawn-out deal for Aubameyang.

“It was a cryptic deal because Giroud went to Chelsea and Batshuayi went to Dortmund. That is why it was short in time and tense until the end.”

A frantic few days was rounded off when German playmaker Mesut Ozil ended speculation over his future by signing a new three-year deal on Thursday.

“Many predicted Ozil would not commit but it is good news for Arsenal,” said Wenger.

“The fact you can keep a player of that calibre is good news.”

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