Manchester City's Spanish head coach Pep Guardiola reacts during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg football match between Basel and Manchester City at the Saint Jakob-Park Stadium in Basel on February 13, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Patrick HERTZOG
Agence France-Presse

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says he is relaxed about his team being Premier League title favourites once again.

City won the title with a record-breaking 100-point haul last season and although Liverpool have been tipped to challenge this term, Reds boss Jurgen Klopp says his team are ‘Rocky Balboa’-type underdogs.

Having previously managed Barcelona and Bayern Munich, Guardiola is used to high expectations.

When asked if he was happy for City to be favourites, he said: “Since nine years I live with that situation, it’s no problem.

“Since nine years, every season – except the first when I arrived at Barcelona.

“We won the triple and, since then, we are the favourites, so thank you – you are so kind!”

Regarding the challenge of winning back-to-back titles, Guardiola added: “That is not the target, the target is tomorrow, then Huddersfield [on August 19] – in April, May we will see how is our level.

“I am not focused on back-to-back. If we play good and are consistent like last season, we have a chance to repeat.”

Riyad Mahrez was City’s only high profile acquisition but Guardiola is fine with that, and said: “We believe we have a good squad.

“I said many times, we cannot spend every season what we spent last season.

“We decided to spend, because we should spend, because we had seven, eight players more than 31-years-old.

“I am so happy with the team and, from last season, I said maybe one more player, maybe two.

“Another point, we don’t have more money to spend – that is the truth.

“We could not spend more than we have done this season. Maybe next season we will go to the transfer window a little more active.

“We [already] spent a lot on young, young players for the next seasons.”

Guardiola says key players Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling are both available to face Arsenal on Sunday, after returning to training on Monday following their respective runs to the World Cup semi-finals with Belgium and England.

“Raheem and Kevin arrived in a perfect way,” added the City boss.

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