Kevin De Bruyne keen to win more trophies under Pep Guardiola at Man City

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Kevin De Bruyne hopes to win many more titles with Manchester City and Pep Guardiola.

De Bruyne has been one of the standout players in City’s superb Premier League campaign but Guardiola, their inspirational manager, was the mastermind.

City were confirmed as champions, with a record-equalling five games to spare, after Manchester United were beaten by West Brom on Sunday.

The club’s top priority this summer will undoubtedly be securing the services of Guardiola, who also oversaw Carabao Cup success in February, for longer than the one year remaining on his contract.

De Bruyne said: “Everyone knows he’s one of the best coaches in the world. To achieve what he has achieved in the game is special and to be part of a group of players led by him can only help us to keep developing.

“He came in two years ago and changed the way we play. That obviously takes time to adapt to but we’ve developed together and this season is a reward for all that work.

“What we want to do now is continue playing the way we have this season and become even stronger. He’s a big part of that and hopefully these can be his first trophies of many here at City.”

De Bruyne believes the current squad is well placed to build on this season’s achievements.

The Belgium playmaker said: “It’s no coincidence that the type of players brought in over the last year or two have all been of a similar age and we will look to build as a group together. The feeling amongst the squad is great.

“We have enjoyed the season a lot but there is work to do if we want to achieve more in future. That can be the trickiest thing in football, to not only win but keep winning. Having such a young squad will hopefully help us to achieve that.”

Midfielder Ilkay Gundogan also believes the foundations are in place for sustained success.

The Germany international, who had been back in his homeland watching former club Borussia Dortmund play Schalke when he learned he was a Premier League winner, said: “Although some of our players have won it before, it’s our first title as a group of players under the new manager.

“We have developed together and there is a lot of potential. What we all have to do now is to work hard and believe in our ability to keep succeeding.”

City’s top scorer Sergio Aguero, one of the City squad to have won previous titles, was pleased there were no final-day dramas this year.

Aguero famously scored the injury-time winner against QPR in the last game of the season in 2012 to secure the crown, while his 2014 triumph was also only sealed on the final day.

The Argentina striker, scorer of 30 goals this season, said: “This is my third title with City and it’s just a relief not to have to wait (until) the final day this time!

“This season has been incredible and the football we’ve played has been the best I’ve been involved with while at the club.”

City are likely to be presented with the Premier League trophy after their home game against Huddersfield on May 6 but this is still to be officially confirmed.

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Under-performing players will pay price for West Brom defeat, vows Man United boss Jose Mourinho

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Jose Mourinho has decided to axe some under-performing stars for the FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham in the wake of Manchester United’s alarming loss to West Brom.

A season-defining week kicked off in embarrassing fashion on Sunday as Jay Rodriguez fired the beleaguered Baggies to their first Premier League win in three months, sealing the title for Manchester City in the process.

It was a meek display from the hosts and a performance in stark contrast to the way they roared back to victory at the Etihad Stadium the previous weekend – a result of what Mourinho believes was over-confidence and complacency.

The United boss has now vowed to drop some big names ahead of Saturday’s Wembley semi-final against Spurs, with changes also in mind for Wednesday’s Premier League trip to Bournemouth.

“Rotating is not the right word,” Mourinho said of his approach at the Vitality Stadium.

“If I play a player against Bournemouth and the player is phenomenal, he plays the semi-final.

“So is not rotating, because rotating looks like a player that plays against Bournemouth is to give a rest to somebody that is going to play against Spurs in the semi-final.

“So, the word is not rotation, it is an opportunity for people, for some people to play and to try to get a place in the team for Spurs – and some of the guys that played (against West Brom), they don’t have a place in that team.”

Asked to clarify if he meant that some of those who under-performed against West Brom would now not play against Tottenham, Mourinho retorted: “Yeah.

“What is the criteria for a manager to choose a team? I only know one criteria: the way you play is the only way I can select players.

“Or do you want me to go for the price they cost, or their salary, or their beautiful face? The only way is to go with performance.”

Ander Herrera was replaced at half-time on Sunday and Ashley Young was taken off in the 75th minute, while Paul Pogba was withdrawn in the 58th minute.

The France midfielder was a shadow of the imposing, match-winning presence seen in the second half at the Etihad.

“It was not just him,” Mourinho said of Pogba’s performance.

“And he had a yellow card, so he was in a more difficult position than others.

“And playing with only two midfield players, you cannot play with one player in risk of not being able to make a foul.

“You can do it if your team is not losing the ball, but our team was losing the ball so easy with the complication, everything was complicated, so we were losing lots of balls.

“So, by losing lots of balls, with turnings and flicks and tricks, the midfield players and central defenders are at risk of one touch, one late challenge and they are out.

“So, Paul was out because of the yellow card, because in terms of the way he played he was not worse than some others that were on the pitch for 90 minutes.”

Mourinho’s disappointment will have no doubt been compounded by the fact some of those under-performing have been key players for him.

“Consistency has nothing to do with age,” the United boss said when asked if he was getting the best out of the experienced, established players.

“It has to do with personality, has to do with the way you live for football, what is your priority in your life, your ambitions. It has not to do with age.

“I met players 30-years-old, not consistent at all, and I found boys of 18, 19, 20, real men, real pros, so it’s not about the age.”

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Petr Cech urges Arsenal to get their act together as Europa League semi-final approaches

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Cech wants Arsenal to win all their remaining Premier League matches.

Petr Cech has warned Arsenal they need to win all their remaining games if they are to climb into the Premier League‘s top five.

The Gunners slipped to a fifth-successive league defeat on the road for the first time since December 1984 when they lost 2-1 at Newcastle on Sunday, leaving them in sixth place, six points behind Chelsea in fifth and 13 adrift of fourth-placed derby rivals Tottenham.

Arsene Wenger’s men have struggled to balance the demands of the Europa League – in which they face Atletico Madrid in a two-legged semi-final – and their domestic commitments since the turn of the year with the game at St James’ Park a case in point.

Cech told the Evening Standard: “We are in the two competitions, so now need to keep switching between them and do our best. We are in a position now where we must win all our remaining games and hope it lifts us in the table.

“We are in a very difficult moment because everybody else has a big advantage.

“In the Europa League, we have a semi-final to play, so we need to make sure we are ready.

“It’s not the first time we were 1-0 up away and we didn’t get anything in the game.”

Arsenal fell to a 2-1 defeat despite Lacazette giving them the lead.

Arsenal fell to a 2-1 defeat despite Lacazette giving them the lead.

Alexandre Lacazette‘s 14th-minute strike got the visitors off to the perfect start and although Ayoze Perez equalised 15 minutes later, Callum Chambers and Premier League debutant Joe Willock both passed up good opportunities as their side dominated the first half.

But the Magpies raised their tempo after the break and won it through Matt Ritchie’s 68th-minute goal, leaving Cech and his team-mates to once again bemoan their failings away from the Emirates Stadium.

The 35-year-old said: “It’s very difficult to explain why because until last season, we were one of the best teams in terms of the away record. But somehow it has completely reversed this season and we don’t seem to find the answer for it.

“When you commit so many team mistakes, away or home, you get punished and Sunday proved that. Of course you try to address that, but clearly the same things are happening.

“We don’t do these mistakes – the team mistakes – when we play at home. Unfortunately, it has affected our results.”

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