Pep Guardiola labelled Arsenal as “winners” and praised them for their title challenge this season after Man City were crowned champions of the Premier League for a fifth time in six seasons.
Arsenal’s defeat to Nottingham Forest on Saturday ensured City would be champions for the third season in a row before Guardiola’s side beat Chelsea 1-0 on Sunday in front of a celebratory crowd at the Etihad Stadium.
City were behind Arsenal for the majority of the season only to overtake them as the end of the campaign approached, but Guardiola says the Gunners deserve a lot of credit for the fight they put up.
“Big congratulations to what Arsenal has done,” he said.
“It’s been quite a similar battle to Liverpool in the previous seasons. Arsenal brought us again to our limits.
“If we don’t make this run, after (Arsenal) making 50 points in the first part (of the season), it would be impossible to catch them.
“They lost some points and we were there. We pushed them and in the end we retain our title.
“People have a tendency to underestimate. They are winners.
“We won, two times, the Premier League over Liverpool by one point. They are winners.
“We pushed them, Arsenal, but they have done exceptional. I’m not the one to say what they want to feel but I would be proud – where they came from, the way they do it, the step forward they are doing.
“They have to sustain it, that is the reality, but for me they are winners. They make us study a lot, they make me think a lot what I have to do to beat them and to win every game.
“But our relentlessness and not giving up and I had the feeling, I said so many times, we have to win today or else it will not be possible. That helped us a lot.”
Guardiola’s side could still become the first team to win the treble of the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League since rivals Manchester United did it in 1999.
And the City boss has urged his side to keep their focus on their two upcoming finals.
“I said enjoy but be careful because still we are there and it would be a pity if you are distracted from the competitions ahead of us,” he said.
“Now I have the feeling that all of us are a little bit tired because it was a long road.”