Guardiola warns Manchester City to be mentally strong to avoid Brighton slip up

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The reigning champions are heavy favourites to repeat with a victory over the Seagulls, but their manager is wary of the challenge before them

Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City must be prepared for a fight if they hope to clinch the Premier League title against Brighton on Sunday.

The reigning Premier League champions will finish just two points shy of their record-setting 100 points of last term with a victory in the final league matchday of the season.

However, they will likely need every one of those points as Liverpool remain just a point behind City in a furious title challenge and can clinch the crown themselves with a win over Wolves at Anfield and a City draw or loss.

Victory over 17th place Brighton would seem a near-certainty for Guardiola’s squad, but the manager thinks his side must be ready in case the going gets tough during their visit to the Amex Stadium.

“We must play well and be strong mentally, knowing it will be tough - it’s how we react even if we have bad moments,” Guardiola told reporters. “We have to focus on the game - how we want to play - and not worry too much [about the rest].”

“If the game is running into problems, be calm and think about what you have to do. You may have to go crazy in the last five, 10, 15 minutes but before that we have a plan and must follow the plan to win the game - that’s what we have done all season.

"Experience [of winning the title] is important but it’s only one [factor]. The most incredible moment in the history of this club was when Sergio scored that goal and, of course, they [Aguero, Vincent Kompany, David Silva] are important players but everyone has to contribute in the last game.”

Brighton are safe from relegation after Cardiff failed to win against Crystal Palace last weekend.

However, the Seagulls celebrated their safety by taking points of Arsenal last Sunday and Guardiola is not taking City’s opposition lightly.

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The manager admitted to devising a pair of gameplans for the match depending on how aggressive Chris Hughton’s side want to play.

“We’ve talk about the two options - if they play like they did recently so defensively, using set pieces, using long balls, using the counter-attack with [Anthony] Knockaert and [Solly] March, the build up with the two central defenders who are so good,”Guardiola added.

“But maybe at home in the last game they decide to go more forward but we have talked about what we can expect and how we handle both situations.”

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