Pep Guardiola admits he is ‘closer to leaving than staying’ at Manchester City | Manchester City

Pep Guardiola admitted next season may be his last as Manchester City manager after the club made history as the first team since the inception of the Football League in 1888 to claim four consecutive titles, following a 3‑1 victory against West Ham.

Guardiola, who was close to tears when talking about Jürgen Klopp’s departure as Liverpool manager, he also revealed that he initially struggled for motivation following the ­treble triumph last season that was confirmed by winning the ­Champions League final in Turkey.

“After Istanbul I said: ‘It’s over, there’s nothing left.’ But I have a contract, I’m still here,” he said. “Some moments I’m a bit tired but some of the moments I love and we are here winning games, looking good with new players. I start to think that no one has done four in a row, why don’t we try? And now I feel it’s done, so what next? FA Cup [final against ­Manchester United on Saturday] – Gary Lineker told me that no team has done back-to-back Premier Leagues and FA Cups.”

Guardiola’s contract expires at the end of next season, the 53-year-old having taken over in the summer of 2016. “The reality is I am closer to leaving than staying [after next season],” he said. “We have talked with the club – my feeling is that I want to stay now. I will stay next season and during the season we will talk. But eight or nine years – we will see.

“What I want for my players is to enjoy two or three days [of this title success] and then we have two days to prepare for the final. But right now I don’t know what exactly the moti­vation is to do it [next season] because it’s difficult to find it when everything is done. But knowing the players and myself I know that when we are there we will say why should we not win today? Why should we not work as much as possible to do what we have to do? And I know we are going to do it [work].”

The latest title triumph came after City launched a 23-match unbeaten run in the Premier League that featured 19 wins and four draws, and began after a 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa on 6 December. They finished on 91 points, two ahead of Arsenal, ­Guardiola’s five other City titles coming with 89, 93, 96, 98 and 100 points.

He said: “In terms of numbers, nobody has been better than us – the records, the goals, the points and four in a row. If I land here tomorrow and you say I will win six Premier Leagues in seven years, I would say: ‘Are you crazy?’ It’s impossible. We have done something unbelievable. Six ­Premier Leagues in seven years, in this ­country with modern football and the teams and everything.

“Before it was Liverpool to push our limits and now it was Arsenal. I want to congratulate Mikel [Arteta, manager], his staff and players from the depths of my heart. They have had an incredible season. I feel it and they push us to our best like before.

Pep Guardiola celebrates with Manchester City’s chairman, Khaldoon al-Mubarak (left), after the trophy lift. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

“We got the message from Mikel and his players. We have to make the right decisions in the next few years because they are here to stay. He is young. You see Declan Rice, [Martin] Ødegaard, [William] Saliba, Gabriel, [Kai] Havertz and [Bukayo] Saka. They are so young and have expe­rience in the Champions League. For two years they were close. We compete incredibly well and again and for a little margin we won it. We did it and I am incredibly pleased.”

Klopp has said the reason City had won four consecutive crowns was down to Guardiola. When this was put to him Guardiola’s voice wavered and he was close to tears.

“I will miss him a lot – Jürgen has been a really important part of my life,” Guardiola said. “He brought me to another level as a manager. We respect each other incredibly. I have the feeling he will be back and thank you so much for his words but he knows that behind me there is a lot that this club provides me with, otherwise alone I can’t do it.

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“I’m humble enough to understand that. He helps me with his team, he has been a huge competitor in my life. I didn’t discover the way I can punish them [Liverpool] like I can find for other teams. With him it has been so difficult. I’m pretty sure Mikel will continue his legacy to drive us to another level. I wish him all the best and hope his final game was special, he deserved it.

“He made Liverpool recognised with his stamp, and the incredible pride of being a Liverpool fan. It’s not just about titles, there are personalities that when they arrive in one place they stay for ever and Jürgen and ­Liverpool will be part of the level of [Bill] Shankly and [Bob] Paisley and these incredible legends.”

After overseeing his last West Ham match as the manager, David Moyes said he had already received offers from around the world. “I’ve got some things come to me already but I’m probably not going to take them,” he said.

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