Pep Guardiola

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola admits defending the Premier League title will be tough as he believes the competition will be stiffer next term.

The Citizens were crowned champions of England with five games to spare and they received the trophy on Sunday after the goalless draw with Huddersfield at the Etihad Stadium.

Guardiola’s side set numerous league records along the way, while they need to beat Brighton and Southampton in their final two games to become the first team to reach the 100-point mark in a season.

The Spaniard won successive titles with Barcelona and Bayern Munich (three each), but acknowledges the challenges in English football makes it harder to achieve.

“Here [it] is more difficult [defending the title], especially winning at Manchester City, it is always more difficult. But the most important thing is to prepare well and then we will see where our level is,” Guardiola told Sky Sports during the celebrations.

When asked if he expects a closer race in the new campaign, the 47-year-old replied: “Definitely.

“We saw what happened this season. The team that won the league didn’t qualify for the Champions League. So to win back-to-back titles will be tough but we expect that challenge.

“Today was proof that we can do better. Today was warm, that was so tough, there were 11 players trying to stay in the Premier League.

“We maintained things against Swansea but this week there were too many things around the team that meant we lost focus but that’s normal.”

Manchester City were crowned champions of England with five games to spare.