Pep Guardiola namechecks Newcastle United in major Champions League claim

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The former Barcelona manager has given his reaction to the Magpies push for a Champions League spot.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has praised Newcastle United’s unexpected push for a place in next season’s Champions League.

The Magpies moved to within one win of securing a top four place when goals from Callum Wilson, Dan Burn and Bruno Guimaraes gave them all three points with a 4-1 home victory against Brighton and Hove Albion on Thursday night. A place amongst European football’s elite could be secured over the next 24 hours if fifth placed Liverpool are beaten at home by Aston Villa on Saturday.

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Should the Reds come out on top at Anfield, Newcastle will head into Monday night’s St James Park clash with relegation threatened Leicester City knowing they will land a Champions League spot for the first time in two decades with a win against Dean Smith’s men.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola: Andrew Yates / SportimageManchester City manager Pep Guardiola: Andrew Yates / Sportimage
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola: Andrew Yates / Sportimage

City have taken four points from the Magpies during the season after following a dramatic 3-3 draw on Tyneside in the first month of the season with a 2-0 Etihad Stadium win in March - but Barcelona legend Guardiola believes Eddie Howe’s side ‘deserve’ a place in next season’s Champions League and revealed how he was impressed with their win over the Seagulls.

Speaking about the strength of the Premier League, he said: “We invited one or two more teams to sit on the table (in the top six of the Premier League).

“Newcastle is there already, they are one game away to qualify for the Champions League next season. Yesterday, I saw their game against Brighton, with the energy they played, it was wow! Newcastle deserve to be there. For what they deserve this season, they deserve to be there so there are more people in the Premier League (top six). So I can not say this one (title race) was more difficult or easier than the other ones, it’s always so difficult.”

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City will retain the Premier League title this weekend if they can secure a win when Chelsea visit the Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

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