City host rivals Manchester United at Etihad Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 17:30 BST) knowing victory will clinch their third Premier League title.
Manchester City’s players “deserve all the credit” for their achievements this season, says boss Pep Guardiola. With six matches left, it would be the earliest a team has won the competition in terms of the date and games played.
“It is almost done,” said Spaniard Guardiola. “I am so happy with what we have done so far.”
He added: “We would like to feel that [the atmosphere] at home. The people can come like they have done all season, fill the stadium, and support the guys because they deserve it. They deserve all the credit.”
City has already won the Carabao Cup this term but was knocked out of the FA Cup by League One Wigan and trail Liverpool 3-0 after the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final.
With seven games remaining, Jose Mourinho’s United side are in second place, 16 points adrift of their neighbors, and they can spoil the party by avoiding defeat.
The Portuguese manager said: “It is easy to go to the books and to understand that with this number of points we would normally have been close most seasons.
“We are not because City has a good number of points. It is very difficult for the second to be fighting for the title, which we are not at this moment.
“We are in the second position for many months. Our objective is to fight for that. My objective for Saturday is to try to have points to finish second.”
After a trophyless first season in England, victory on Saturday would seal a seventh league title in three different countries for Guardiola after success at Spanish giants Barcelona and Germany’s Bayern Munich.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United side of 2000-01 hold the record for the earliest Premier League title triumph when they won it with five games to go on 14 April.
Arsene Wenger’s 2003-04 Arsenal side – known as ‘the Invincibles’ after going the whole league season unbeaten – were crowned champions with four games to go on 25 April.
Guardiola’s side are on 84 points with the record tally also in their sights and very much achievable.
With 21 still on offer, City can afford to drop nine more points from now until the end of the campaign and still beat Chelsea’s 95-point haul from the 2004-05 season.
However, they can afford to drop only five points if they are to become the first team to break the 100-point mark.
Source: BBC News