Manchester City have been confirmed as Premier League champions for the third time in four seasons after Manchester United were beaten 2-1 at home by Leicester.
It is the second trophy secured by Pep Guardiola’s team in less than three weeks following their success in the Carabao Cup and they hope to end the season by lifting the Champions League for the first time.
Following his side’s defeat to Leicester, Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær praised City for their achievement and said summer investment is potentially needed to beat them next season.
“If you want to take up the challenge with them we need to strengthen our squad,” he said. “Congratulations to them. They have had a fantastic season. I am very pleased with my boys that have made it to the last 10 days with a Manchester City side ahead of us that are lauded as the best in Europe.
We want to take the next step and it might be that we need a couple more to strengthen the squad.”
City, second to Liverpool by 18 points last season, have a 10-point lead over second-placed United that cannot be overturned with three games remaining. City wasted the chance to confirm top spot on Saturday when they lost at home to Chelsea but United’s defeat has handed them the title three days later.
“This has been a season and a Premier League title like no other,” Guardiola said. “This was the hardest one. We will always remember this season for the way that we won. I am so proud to be the manager here and of this group of players. They are so special. To come through this season – with all the restrictions and difficulties we’ve faced – and show the consistency we have is remarkable. It is relentless. Every single day, they are there, fighting for success, trying always to be better. They have been so, so resilient.”
City’s success is not only an emphatic response to finishing well off the pace last summer but an impressive turnaround from earlier in this campaign. On 22 November, a day after losing to Tottenham, they were 13th with 12 points from eight games. Although they had a match in hand on many teams they did not appear likely champions and had been beaten 5-2 at home by Leicester in September.
A run of 15 straight league victories from mid-December, after an unexpected home draw with West Brom, laid the platform for this triumph. Guardiola has been the manager for each of the past three Premier League title wins.
“At the start of every season, the Premier League is the most important title for us,” Guardiola said. “This is the one where you have to be there every three days, playing all your rivals home and away. Only by being the very best, week in week out, can you win this competition. It is a huge success.”
Guardiola dedicated the triumph to the club’s fans and Colin Bell, who died in January. The captain, Fernandinho, described the Premier League as the toughest in the world and said: “We will enjoy this moment and we hope the fans do too. Rest assured we will continue to do everything we can to bring the Champions League home.”