Football Expert & Columnist
Pep Guardiola the 'star' in Manchester City success, says Jamie Carragher
Last Updated: 28/12/17 10:28am
Jamie Carragher says Pep Guardiola is the "star" of Manchester City's remarkable season, and has helped Kevin De Bruyne become the best player in the Premier League.
Guardiola's City moved 15 points clear at the top of the table with a dominant 1-0 win over Newcastle on Wednesday.
They are now just one win away from equalling the record in Europe's big five leagues of 19 victories in a row, set by Guardiola's Bayern Munich side in 2013/14.
And Carragher said on Sky Sports: "Pep Guardiola is the star for me of Manchester City. They had Fernandinho at centre-back tonight, and had Eliaquim Mangala, who previous managers don't seem to have wanted, and Danilo playing at left-back when he isn't really a left-back.
"Sometimes for how good City are you look at the names on paper and not everyone gets into an all-time XI. I know there's been talk of Jose Mourinho saying he needs more money, but look at the improvement of two players under Guardiola.
It's not just about spending money, every top club in world football spends money, that's what you have to do, but the improvement in players he has inherited is why they are so far ahead of Manchester United
Jamie Carragher on Pep Guardiola
"De Bruyne is now the best player in the Premier League and could go on to be one of the best in the world if he is not there already. His improvement has come under Guardiola.
"Raheem Sterling did not have a great start to his Manchester City career and was not a regular, but he is now one of the best wide players in the Premier League.
"Look at the improvements. It's not just about spending money, every top club in world football spends money, that's what you have to do, but the improvement in players he has inherited is why they are so far ahead of Manchester United."
Sterling scored the winner against Newcastle, finishing from close range in the 31st minute after an excellent pass over the top from De Bruyne.
Carragher was full of praise for De Bruyne after the match, saying: "Where we are saying City have won the league, I feel like De Bruyne has almost won player of the year. It will be very difficult for anyone to get close. For me he has won it already.
"Every time you watch him play what else can you say? What level can you take it to? He is a special talent and a really special player. Teams are going to have to do a job on him and man-mark him. It's not something we see in the game too much but he has become that influential that you have to stop him and make it a 10 v 10 game."
Reflecting on City's form and the challenges that might lie ahead, Carragher said: "The name of the game for them is can they break records, it's not whether they are going to win the league, because we know that now. It's 'could this be one of the greatest seasons we have seen?'. The only thing that can maybe stop them breaking all these records might be complacency."