Manchester City's dominance of English football looks set to continue for the long term after the club announced on Thursday they have agreed a contract extension that will keep manager Pep Guardiola at the club until 2021.
Under Guardiola's guidance this season, City won both the Premier League title and the League Cup as the club embarked on a record-breaking campaign that saw them become the first side in English top-flight history to reach 100 points in a season.
He was rewarded for his efforts by landing both the Premier League and League Managers' Association Manager of the Year awards at the LMA awards dinner on Tuesday evening.
“I am so happy and excited. It’s a pleasure to be able to work here," Guardiola said on signing his contract extension.
“I enjoy working with our players every day and we will try to do our best together in the coming years. As a manager, you have to feel good to be with the players – and I feel good.
“I will focus on the desire of my players to become a better team and every day that’s what I will try to do – to improve on the pitch and improve our players.
“We have a young squad with an average age of 23 and we want to keep taking steps forward and maintain the levels we’ve achieved this season.”
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It marks the end of an incredible campaign for City, who on Monday drew a crowd of around 100,000 fans to watch Guardiola, his staff and players celebrate with an open-top bus parade through Manchester to show off their Premier League and League Cup trophies.
Following a 2016/17 campaign without silverware that culminated in a fourth-place finish, City set a new gold standard under Guardiola this term.
As well as setting a new points record, City were crowned champions on April 15 with a record-equaling five games to spare following Manchester United's shock 1-0 defeat to West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford. Gabriel Jesus' goal against Southampton on the final day of the campaign saw City's "Centurions" extend their goals tally to 106 while also reaching a milestone of 32 wins in a season, beating the previous mark set by Chelsea by two.
The 19-point gap between City and rivals Manchester United in second is the widest since the Premier League’s inception in 1992.
Earlier in the campaign, City set a new record for consecutive wins – 18 – with 11 of them away from home, also a record. They would go on to achieve 16 victories on the road overall. The number of points gleaned away from the Etihad Stadium – 50 – also set a new benchmark.
“We are delighted to announce the extension of Pep’s contract through to 2021,” City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said. “In his two seasons with us, he has fostered an incredible spirit within the squad and significantly contributed to our progress both on and off the field. In doing so he has embodied the passion and commitment we all have for the club.
"I am very much looking forward to the continued impact of his work and to fulfilling our shared ambitions in the coming seasons.”
Securing the long-term future of one of the most highly-regarded managers in the world represents a coup for City's hierarchy. The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager usually works in three-year cycles, as he did in both his previous roles at Camp Nou and the Allianz Arena.
Guardiola, 47, is into the second year of his current three-year deal, which was set to expire in the summer of 2019, but will extend his stay in Manchester to five years should he see the extension through to its conclusion.
“Pep’s contract extension is fantastic news for Manchester City. We have all been privileged to witness the success the team has enjoyed this season. Pep has implemented a style of beautiful football which has broken records and won trophies," City chief executive Ferran Soriano said.
“Pep has shown this style can succeed in the Premier League, and we are really pleased with the progress of the team.”
City have been proactive in securing their best talents on long-term contracts. Belgian midfielder Kevin de Bruyne, 26, signed fresh terms in January keeping him at the club until 2023, while goalkeeper Ederson committed his long-term future to the club the day after last Sunday's final game of the season against Southampton.
The 24-year-old Brazilian's new contract will see him remain at the Etihad Stadium until 2025.