Guardiola admits it is ‘squeaky bum time’ for Manchester City as Spurs await

<span><a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Arsenal;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Arsenal</a>’s win at <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Manchester United;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Manchester United</a> means that Pep Guardiola’s City cannot settle for less than victory in their final two league games.</span><span>Photograph: Gaspafotos/MB Media/Getty Images</span>

Pep Guardiola has admitted he and Manchester City will feel “squeaky bum time” before their pivotal visit to Tottenham on Tuesday as they seek to win a record fourth consecutive title.

City are second, one point behind Arsenal, having played a game fewer. The trip to Spurs is their match in hand before the final day on ­Sunday, when they host West Ham and ­Arsenal are at home against Everton. If City lose at Spurs the destiny of the title will be in Arsenal’s hands and a draw would give them the edge owing to a goal difference superior by three.

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In 2003, Sir Alex Ferguson described Arsenal’s title fight with his Manchester United side as “squeaky bum time” for the ­Gunners, a phrase that entered the Oxford English Dictionary. Guardiola was informed of Ferguson’s characterisation and asked whether he and his players would experience the same. “Translate,” he said. “A lot of pressure? A lot of pressure. Why Sir Alex not make an easier sentence for this moment?”

After it was explained that this meant feeling nerves Guardiola said: “Now, no, and now I have to tell the players, introduce Tottenham [and] the game we expect we are going to play. But tomorrow we will feel the tension and the nerves. Of course I will feel it, otherwise it would be a bad sign.

“Every game I feel the right ­tension but [I focus on] the ­opponents, focus on what they [the players] have to do, read what will happen in the game and then don’t be so excited, take bad decisions and make my ­players a little bit anxious – because of my behaviour sometimes it happens, unfortunately for me and the team.

“The rest I’m fine, just to be calm, to take the right decisions. I have always been, even in September, October, November. I don’t think any football player or manager is so relaxed to think it doesn’t ­matter. We know what we’re playing for: it’s a knockout, like a quarter-final, semi-final second leg of the Cham­pions League or FA Cup. Simple: win, OK; lose, bye-bye. It’s not much more complicated than that.”

Guardiola stated that City were driven on by trying to become the first English side to be champions four years in a row. “In the beginning of the season we didn’t think about this,” he said. “Now it ignites something in our heads that says: ‘Guys, no team has done it.’ That shows how hard it is.”

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He denied that City’s domination of the Premier League had made the title race tame by pointing to the spending of rivals who have failed to match that success. He believes City have been the league’s fourth-biggest net spenders over the past five years, with Manchester United top of the list, followed by Chelsea and Arsenal, and said: “Man United should have won all the titles – all of them. And the second, Chelsea all the titles. And the third, Arsenal all the titles.

“They spend [more] money in the last five years than us. They should be there. They are not there. For that [same] reason Girona shouldn’t be in the Champions League and Leicester shouldn’t win the Premier League years ago. Now it’s boring? It’s not boring. It’s so difficult to be here again and we want to win it.”

According to Transfermarkt, in the past five years Chelsea’s net spend is €802m, United’s €694m, Arsenal’s €638m, Tottenham’s €537m, Newcastle’s €486m, Aston Villa’s €383m and City’s €380m.

Jack Grealish is available again after illness and Nathan Aké faces a fitness test.