Pep Guardiola: winning matches, not titles, is my motivation

Manchester City begin defence of their Premier League crown on Sunday as Liverpool set to hand Alisson debut in goal against West Ham

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Sunday's games

Liverpool v West Ham United, 4.30pm (UAE)
Southampton v Burnley, 4.30pm
Arsenal v Manchester City, 7pm

Pep Guardiola says winning matches, not more trophies, is what drives him as Manchester City prepare for their Premier League title defence on Sunday.

Under Guardiola's guidance, City surged to the title last season, becoming the first top-flight team in England to reach 100 points.

It was the club's third title in six years, following on from their triumphs in 2012 and 2014, with the expectation that City could become the first team to retain the Premier League since 2009.

City begin their title defence with a trip to Arsenal, with the Catalan insisting his only focus is on securing three points.


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Guardiola told reporters: "The target is to win on Sunday and then, after that, [against] Huddersfield and then Wolves. At the end we will see our level.

"I am focused on that, not focused on back-to-back [titles].

"Winning is the best motivation and we will try to continue what we have done. Last season we were so happy. Why not try it again?

"If we play good and we are consistent we have a chance to repeat the Premier League. If we don't we are not going to win."

City, who also finished 19 points clear of their nearest rivals last term, have made just one major signing over the summer with the £60 million (Dh281m) club record acquisition of Riyad Mahrez. Guardiola insists he is perfectly happy with his group of players.

"They show me in two seasons, especially the last one, we can trust them," Guardiola said. "We believe we have a good squad.

"I like to work with these guys, I enjoy it. It's excellent. They are excellent human beings. I like playing with them.

"The results I don't know, but the process of being together is nice."

City will be the first competitive opponents for Arsenal since the appointment of Guardiola's fellow Spaniard Unai Emery as manager in place of the long-serving Arsene Wenger.

City have a full-strength squad available after Kevin de Bruyne and Raheem Sterling returned to training this week. The pair missed last week's Community Shield after taking delayed summer breaks following the World Cup.

Liverpool hope Alisson will solve a problem area for them in goal. Getty Images
Liverpool hope Alisson will solve a problem area for them in goal. Getty Images

Klopp puts faith in Alisson

Sunday's early kick off sees Liverpool take on West Ham United at Anfield, with manager Jurgen Klopp set to give a Premier League debut to new goalkeeper Alisson.

The Brazil international was, until Chelsea signed Kepa Arrizabalaga last week, the world's most expensive goalkeeper following his £65m move from Roma.

His recruitment is seen as a key piece of business for Liverpool, who finished fourth last term as well as reaching the final of the Uefa Champions League, strengthening an area which has been open to criticism for several years.

Alisson came to pre-season training later than the main group because of his involvement in the World Cup and has played just two friendlies against Napoli and Torino in the last six days.

However, Klopp has no worries about the 25-year-old making an instant impact.

"Just be a goalkeeper. Be yourself, in this case, because he is very calm and laid back - and that helps," Klopp said.

"It's about making the right decisions in the right moments. It's all good. He's settled really quick, as if he's been here longer than two weeks. That's all fine."

Sunday's games

Liverpool v West Ham United, 4.30pm (UAE)
Southampton v Burnley, 4.30pm
Arsenal v Manchester City, 7pm