Pep Guardiola has insisted Manchester City have to win all of their remaining five Premier League games to claim back-to-back titles.

City made it nine League wins in succession with a 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace, but Guardiola has told his team they cannot afford any slip-ups.

Raheem Sterling scored twice and substitute Gabriel Jesus once to keep the pressure on Liverpool, but City face Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United in their next two League games. Liverpool returned to the top of the table by beating Chelsea and City are two points adrift with a game in hand.

“The Premier League is still in our hands,” said City manager Guardiola. “We have to win every game if we want to make back-to-back titles, we know that, and the players have shown they want to do it. No doubts.

“For a month in the Premier League, we knew it would be almost impossible – possible, but very difficult – if we dropped points. We’ve played with incredible personality in all the games, including Champions League games. We’ve had 183 points in two seasons with five games left. Those are incredible numbers, especially in the Premier League and shows how consistent we are.”

Sterling now has 21 goals in all competitions for City this season and Guardiola was impressed with how he reacted to his early miss.

“His miss at Burnley last season was worse than today,” said Guardiola. “Mentally, in football, the most important action in a game is the next one. If you miss, you have to get over it and finish the next one.

“The pass from Kevin was outstanding, but the finish was incredible. The second goal was more complicated too than the one he missed, but you have to be stable for the next chance. He was and he helped us win the game.”

Palace manager Roy Hodgson coached Sterling for Liverpool and England, and added: “He deserves a lot of credit as an individual, for doing the work he needed to do on his game to take him to the next level.

“I’m pretty sure he’s had a lot of assistance from his manager, coaching staff and the quality of the players he has around him. It’s been a factor in his development. He has developed so well.

“It’s interesting for us to see what effort players like him will put into their game not only when they are on the attack, but for doing some of the things that a lot of quality players don’t want to do.

“I saw him track back today to get around Wilf Zaha and prevent him getting one against one, that was a great credit. He’s always had that in him, from the very beginning. He’s retained that while retaining all the other aspects of his game: his decision making, goalscoring.”

Source: Matt Law| The Telegraph

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