Manchester City have won their last 19 and are 10 points clear of Manchester United (second) and Leicester (third) at the top of the Premier League with 13 games left; Pep Guardiola's team host in-form West Ham (fourth) on Saturday who are hunting their first top-four finish in 35 years
Saturday 27 February 2021 15:18, UK
Pep Guardiola believes West Ham are firm contenders to finish in the Premier League top four for the first time ever this season as Manchester City look to make it 20 wins in a row on Saturday.
City's 2-0 Champions League win over Borussia Monchengladbach on Wednesday was their 19th straight victory in all competitions and they will be looking to extend their 10-point lead at the top of the Premier League when they host in-form West Ham at the Etihad.
The fourth-placed Hammers, who have already surpassed their points tally from 2019/20, have been in outstanding form this season too, beating London rivals Tottenham 2-1 last time out as they continue to make a serious push to finish in the top four, a feat they last achieved in the top-flight in 1986.
"They are in a Champions League position. That is not a good run, it is many months and they are there," Guardiola said on Friday. "It means how strong they are. What I saw is the rhythm increased a lot on previous seasons.
"They have fantastic players like Declan Rice. I am a big admirer of him and Michail Antonio is always a headache for his movements. David Moyes - I admire this type of person, like Roy Hodgson. They have incredibly long, long careers.
"I would love to have these careers for many years and the passion to do the job. I cannot forget my first game in the Premier League was against Sunderland and he [David Moyes] was the manager there.
"He was so kind to me, he gave me some advice about the Premier League. I have friends, supporters [who are West Ham fans]. Come on you Irons! We will see what happens tomorrow.
"The season speaks for itself. [Moyes] understands football perfectly and has a lot of experience. I dream of arriving one day where everything is calm [a bit] like Carlo Ancelotti.
"They live a Buddha life. In the good moments, [these managers] are calm. In all moments, they are calm. [Moyes] gives you experience to do this. It is a real tough game tomorrow because all the big clubs suffer against them."
Asked to reveal the advice Moyes gave him when the pair first met, Guardiola added: "Try to buy the best wine as possible and invite the opposing manager after the game!"
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss joked in midweek that the key to City's recent form is their significant financial backing.
Asked to explain those comments, Guardiola added: "There are many more things [than that]. First of all you must have an incredibly strong organisation and lovely people - backroom staff, the players.
"When you achieve what this club achieves in four years, winning a lot of games, it is because we have to have top players. You can win one title with average players.
"To win a lot of titles you need top players and top players cost money. That was my reflection. It was not sarcastic, it was the truth.
"When Manchester United or AC Milan or Celtic or Rangers or Barcelona or Real Madrid win more titles, it is because they have more money than the other clubs. Every manager has his own way."
Guardiola insists his side can still get better - despite winning their last 19 in a row - with the club still able to win a possible quadruple this season if they can lift the Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup.
City, who won a domestic treble in 2018/19, travel to Goodison Park to take on Carlo Ancelotti's Everton in the FA Cup last eight on March 20 before they face Tottenham in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley on April 25.
They are missing the Champions League from their trophy cabinet with Guardiola yet to take them past the semi-finals since his arrival in 2016. The Spaniard feels he will be regarded as a failure if he never wins the trophy for City.
Speaking to Sky Sports about his side's unprecedented form, Guardiola said: "We can be beaten. Today, if we have a game. Every single game I play, every single game, I think we can be beaten if we don't do what we have to do.
"To play every game, just to get another good performance and three more points and victories, that helps us to get confidence and believe we can do it again and again.
"I don't feel satisfied, not fully accomplished. To say it's enough. I still feel we have a margin to improve. And do it again. And this is the most difficult thing."