Haaland tells Man City to ‘relax’ ahead of title race finale

Manchester City’s Erling Haaland shoots a penalty kick and scores his team second goal during the Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. (AFP)

Erling Haaland has urged his Manchester City teammates to “relax” after they closed in on making English football history with a 2-0 win away to Tottenham Hotspur.

Tuesday’s triumph in north London saw City, courtesy of two goals from Haaland, win their game in hand as they returned to the top of the table as they moved two points clear of Arsenal.

Victory at home to West Ham on Sunday’s final day of the season will now assure City of a fourth successive Premier League title – an unprecedented feat in the top tier of English football.

“Yeah, fantastic mentality,” Haaland told City+.

“Focus on game by game and now relax. We came here to try to win and we won.”

Haaland opened the scoring six minutes into the second half when he tapped in from Kevin De Bruyne’s pass before doubling City’s lead from the penalty spot after Jeremy Doku was brought down by Pedro Porro.

Spurs, however, had a chance to equalise but City reserve goalkeeper Stefan Ortega, who came on after Ederson was injured in a challenge with Cristian Romero, stood up well to deny Son Heung-min when one-on-one with the South Korean.

“They’re a fantastic team,” Haaland said of Spurs. “You know everyone knows that they want to play all the time and all praise to them.

“It was really difficult, but yeah, we came here to try and win and we won. That’s my only thing and I’m happy. I think we were a bit nervous. I think that’s normal, there’s a lot of emotions for everyone. “Everyone knows the situation, but it’s about not thinking too much. Try to focus on your things to do and try to win.”

He added: “Ortega man of the match... What can I say? He’s incredible and such a good guy as well, so I’m happy for him.”

City do feel the tension of title race, says Guardiola

Manchester City will be affected by the nerves of going for a fourth consecutive Premier League title on Sunday, said Pep Guardiola despite his side’s experience.

It is the first time Guardiola’s men have won at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the Premier League, but it was a far from vintage performance. City have won eight straight Premier League games and are unbeaten from open play in any competition since December 6. But they host West Ham on the final day knowing anything less than win will allow Arsenal to take the title should they beat Everton.

“They were playing for the consequences of the result. When you play football thinking about the consequences, you are going to lose the Premier League, you cannot perform at your best level,” said Guardiola of his side’s display.

“But they are human beings so I can understand the pressure is there. It will be the same against West Ham. We will feel the pressure.”

In the same circumstances two years ago City needed a late rally from 2-0 down to beat Aston Villa 3-2 and deny Liverpool the title.

“They feel it there and they know it. They are not celebrating, there is relief but there is still a job to do,” added Guardiola.

“The tennis players say ‘the serve to win Wimbledon is the most difficult one’. (We need to) prepare well, completely focus and try to win there.” Rodri said City are ready to rewrite the record books once more by becoming the first side to ever win four consecutive English top-flight titles.

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