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Manchester City sweep past Southampton to go third in England
Manchester City’s quest to obtain a slot in next season’s Uefa Champions League was boosted on Saturday night with a 3-0 victory at Southampton. The win moved City up to third in the Premier League with 64 points after 32 games
City manager Pep Guardiola conceded the title following a 2-1 defeat at Chelsea on 5 April. City’s cause for next season's Champions League would be helped if Chelsea claimed all three points against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon.
However Guardiola said he would watch the clash with a professional interest rather than willing the Londoners to win.
"I'm going to see the game to see United because we play them in 10 days and I want to see how they play in case I can discover something,” he said.
"It's not my business who wins. All we have to do is win our games and if we do that we'll be in the Champions League next season and that is so important for the club."
Chelsea’s lead at the top was cut to four points on Saturday after second placed Tottenham Hotspur routed Bournemouth 4-0.
Guardiola said he is convinced that the top two spots are already accounted for by Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur adding that City, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United are battling for the other two places that lead to next season's Champions League.
"Tottenham are so strong and they are not going to drop points. Our problem is that we have dropped a lot of points at home."
Manchester United – who are sixth with 57 points – have played two games less than City and wins over Chelsea and Burnley would give Jose Mourinho’s men 63 points, the same as Liverpool who occupy fourth place.
“We play an FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal next Saturday and a few days after that we play against Manchester United in the Premier League, so that's why it was important for our confidence to win at Southampton, so I'm happy about that," said Guardiola.
City’s opening goal came 10 minutes after the pause from a Vincent Kompany header. It was the Belgium international’s first goal since August 2015. Leroy Sané and Sergio Aguero secured the tie in the last 15 minutes.
"In the first half it was not easy to find the right spaces,” said Guardiola. “From a set piece we scored a goal and Southampton had to push up and after that we could get some players between the lines and counter attack and kill the game."
Guardiola praised Kompany, who has missed most of the season through injury.
"This season and last we missed Vincent a lot," he said. "The guy has quality. He wins duels, one against one. He has the quality to move quicker, to find passes in small spaces, to help us in set pieces, both offensive and defensive because he's a real defender.
"So hopefully he can be fit for the rest of the season because he's an important player for us."