Guardiola wonders if league’s OK with Liverpool’s huge lead

Sports

Tottenham’s Steven Bergwijn, 2nd left, celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England, Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Ian Walton)

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LONDON (AP) — Pep Guardiola doesn’t forget.

After Manchester City failed to cut into Liverpool’s 22-point lead by losing 2-0 at Tottenham on Sunday, Guardiola’s mind turned back to 2018 and irritation at comments from the Premier League leadership.

Guardiola’s team winning the league by 19 points prompted Richard Scudamore to express a desire for “someone to get a little bit closer to Manchester City” while also praising the team’s excellence.

Scudamore is no longer running the league. Guardiola wonders if the competition bosses are fine with a lead so commanding that Liverpool is in line to seal the title in March with two months of the season remaining.

“An owner from the Premier League said that cannot happen again, so it’s not good for the Premier League (that) City win the title in that way with 100 points,” Guardiola said, without naming Scudamore. “So now it’s Liverpool you have to be concerned, the owner of the Premier League.”

It is City’s six losses in 25 league games this season that have thwarted the quest for a third straight title and put Liverpool on a clear path to ending a 30-year championship drought.

Outplaying and outshooting Tottenham counted for little after second-place City was reduced to 10 men on the hour when Oleksandr Zinchenko’s push on Harry Winks to halt a counterattack saw the midfielder shown a second yellow card.

Within three minutes, Tottenham was in front with a goal from Steven Bergwijn on his debut. The recruit from PSV Eindhoven brought down a pass from Lucas Moura with his chest before taking a touch to control the ball and volleying into the net.

“I saw the ball go in and I almost cried,” Bergwijn said. “When the ball left my feet I had a feeling it was going in … and the guys jumped on me.”

Tottenham’s record-signing Tanguy Ndombele created the second for Son Heung-min, who struck past goalkeeper Ederson in the 71st minute.

“I don’t think we collapsed,” Guardiola said. “This team is built to do something and play in a certain way. Ten against 11 after the chances we missed in this game … still I think we were there. It’s not easy.”

It would have been easier had Ilkay Gundogan not seen his first-half penalty saved by Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

Victory for Tottenham lifted Jose Mourinho’s side to within four points of Chelsea in the fourth Champions League place.

ARSENAL FRUSTRATED

Arsenal is far from challenging for Champions League qualification, ending the 25th round in 10th place after being held 0-0 at Burnley to only remain ahead of its opponent on goal difference.

Arsenal is without a win since New Year’s Day and manager Mikel Arteta wasn’t happy with the grass at Turf Moor.

“That’s not a very helpful thing to play football,” Arteta told reporters. “I didn’t water the pitch yesterday at the training ground because I expected it, but that doesn’t make it any easier to play.

“(Burnley) do what they do really well, and you are allowed to do it so we have to react to that. In some moments it wasn’t the grass — it was their quality and what they do really well, and we could not do it in the right way.”

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