Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is targeting 100 points after his team established a new top-flight points record with a 3-1 victory over Brighton at the Etihad Stadium.
In Yaya Toure’s final game as a City player, goals from Danilo, Bernardo Silva and Fernandinho ensured Guardiola’s team surpassed the 95-point tally set by Chelsea under Jose Mourinho in 2004-05.
“Ninety-seven points, a lot of goals, a lot of wins, that is a consequence of the season we have done,” Guardiola said.
“We want 100 points to finish this almost perfect season in the Premier League.”
Another Chelsea record – this time from 2009-10, during Carlo Ancelotti’s tenure as manager – went when Silva stroked home City’s second which brought up 104 league goals for the season.
Fittingly, City’s latest accomplishments came against opponents who they began this record-breaking campaign against, on a sun-kissed evening on the South Coast last August.
On that occasion, Guardiola’s side required help in the form of a Lewis Dunk own goal but City have required little assistance ever since and are threatening to add to a compendium of club and domestic records before the season is out.
The Premier League champions may yet conclude the campaign by becoming first team to reach 100 points in an English top-flight season if they win at Southampton on Sunday (15:00 BST).
It follows City signing-off at home by breaking the Premier League record for most wins in a season. Their 31 victories in 37 games passes the 30 registered by Chelsea last term and equals the all-time top-flight record set by Tottenham’s double-winning team of 1960-61.
However, Guardiola suggested his side need to win more trophies before comparisons can be drawn between his side and the great Liverpool teams of the 1980s or Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United sides.
“To be considered one of the best, you have to win more. To be alongside United in the 1990s or Liverpool in the 1980s you have to win more.
“I am not saying we are a legend team, I am not saying we are better than them. No, because you have to make more years to do that, but in one season we were better than all of them in the history of Premier League and the history of English football.”
Out with the old in with the new
Much of the evening for those in sky blue was devoted to paying tribute to Toure in his final appearance for City at the Etihad, four days before his 35th birthday.
The midfielder’s name was replaced with the word ‘Legend’ on the teamsheet and City supporters went through a repertoire of songs paying tribute to the Ivorian.
At full-time, his brother Kolo – who also played for City between 2009-2013 – emerged to the tune of 2 Unlimited’s 1993 hit ‘No Limit’, to present his younger brother with a commemorative shirt.
If Toure, who has collected seven trophies since being signed by Roberto Mancini in July 2010 represents the past, Leroy Sane, a Guardiola recruit, embodies the present.
Having arrived from Schalke for £46.5m in 2016, this has been the 22-year-old’s breakthrough season in England and he was at his tricky best against the Seagulls – creating all three of City’s goals.
His quick one-two and surge through midfield created the opener, a driving run down the left and back-post cross laid on the second and some quick thinking and a precise cut-back delivered the third.
Sane has now been directly involved in more league goals this season than any other German player in Europe’s top five divisions – scoring 10 and providing 15 assists.