Super League 'closed chapter'

Sports | AGENCIES 23 Apr 2021

Pep Guardiola insists Manchester City's role in the European Super League controversy is a "closed chapter" as he urged his players to focus on clinching the English Premier League title after their 2-1 win at Aston Villa.

City signed up to the breakaway league on Sunday, only to start the collapse of the tournament 48 hours later when they became the first club to officially pull out after a public backlash.

Guardiola's side ignored the off-field drama to come from behind for a vital victory at Villa Park as the Premier League leaders moved 11 points clear of second-placed Manchester United.

John McGinn's opener rocked City after 20 seconds, but Phil Foden equalized and Rodri headed the winner before half-time. City defender John Stones was sent off just before the break before Villa's Matty Cash saw red in the second half.

City need eight points from their final five games to win a third English title in four seasons - and that was all Guardiola wanted to focus on after the Villa clash.

"It's a closed chapter, as a club we accept and learn and focus on the reason why we are here. We are so close," the City manager said of the Super League row. "[The owners] don't need to apologize ... It's a chapter which is over."

Of the game against Villa, Guardiola said: "There was a lot of adversity, it was not the best of starts but we recovered and came back incredibly well."

Elsewhere, Ryan Mason described a feeling of "massive relief" after his first game in charge of Tottenham ended with a 2-1 win over Southampton that keeps alive Spurs' hopes of a top-four finish.

The 29-year-old rookie coach was put in charge after Jose Mourinho was sacked the day after Tottenham were announced as among six English clubs joining the Super League.

"It's been a whirlwind the last two or three days but thankfully we got the win," said Mason.

Gareth Bale cancelled out Danny Ings' 30th-minute opener before Son Heung Min tucked away a last-minute penalty for Spurs.

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