Guardiola says Man City earned respect by always competing for Premier League title while other champions struggle |

City have never finished outside the top two in their title defences while rivals over the past decade have failed to make the Champions League places

Pep Guardiola believes that Manchester City have earned respect as a top club because of their ability to regularly compete for trophies.

His side can take a huge step towards a third Premier League title in four years with victory over second-placed Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

City are already in the Carabao Cup final, the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and have a 2-0 first-leg lead over Borussia Monchengladbach in their last-16 Champions League clash.

What’s been said?

“The nicest thing this club has done in the last decade is that every time we won the title, the next season we were there,” Guardiola said ahead of the Manchester derby. “The lowest position was second after winning.

“You see other champions, they fight to qualify for the top four and that means [we have] the consistency of being there all the time. It doesn’t matter the competition, being there and win and win, that is when you become a club that is respected.

“One title you can win it, but being there for a long time – that is when I’m proud of the club the most, not just with my period in the last decade, always being there on top. Arriving in April and March, being in all the competitions, semi-finals and fighting for the Premier League.

“Hopefully, in the quarter-finals of the Champions League [this year], but even qualifying for the Champions League next season, this means you are considered a top, top club.”

How have Premier League champions performed?

Last season’s champions Liverpool are currently seventh in the Premier League and face a battle to secure a place in next year’s Champions League, sitting four points behind Chelsea.

Chelsea in 2017-18 and 2015-16, Leicester in 2016-17, and Manchester United in 2013-14 all missed out on the top four the year after they won the title.

City, meanwhile, are the only club in 12 years to win back-to-back titles with success in 2017-18 and 2018-19, and have qualified for the Champions League for 10 successive seasons.

What’s next for City?

Guardiola’s side could move 17 points clear of United with 10 matches remaining with a victory over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side on Sunday.

They can extend their advantage when they face out-of-form Southampton at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday in a match brought forward because of their Carabao Cup final date with Tottenham in April.

After a trip to relegation-threatened Fulham, they head into the international break with the second leg against Monchengladbach at the Etihad followed by an FA Cup quarter-final at Everton.

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