Pep Guardiola has claimed Manchester City are victims of their own success – after failing to match the high standards they’ve set for ­Premier League title glory.

And the Blues boss reckons the way City set a new Premier League benchmark – after ­winning the title with 100 points followed by 98 last season – has given ­ Liverpool a helping hand towards the prospect of their own first crown in 30 years.

City have been off the pace this season, losing four games already as they chase a third successive League title.

And, as City head to Arsenal today, Guardiola has admitted that he and his stars may have to suffer to motivate them to regain their dominance next season.

“I think maintaining 100 points or 98 points for three or four years would be difficult,” said the Spaniard.

Guardiola says City are victims of their own success

“I didn’t want to think about it too much at the beginning of the season, but I thought maybe we would be able to do it again. When we arrived here, the ­standard was 85 points to win the Premier League. Now you have to reach almost 100 points to win it.

“That’s how we helped ­Liverpool to make this step, to buy incredible top players and now it is the level you have to reach.

“All the teams that are behind Liverpool, we know we have to make 100 points. Before, it didn’t happen and we were the reason why. For 11 years, no one won back-to-back titles and then we did it by winning 14 games in a row last season.

“Because of that, people say that now we are not good, but I cannot forget what this team has done.

“Sometimes in a process, in NBA teams, in incredible tennis players, there are problems or periods in the season when you struggle a little bit.

Pep's men are well adrift in the title race

“To stay at the level we created for three, four , five years is so ­difficult and now we are ­struggling a bit because we have an opponent (Liverpool) that doesn’t drop points.

“After four titles in one season, maybe we believed we were ­something we are not and the reality of sport is to make you go again, again and again. ­Sometimes you have live it.

“But we will still try to ­challenge and improve the ­situation. If they drop points, we will be closer – and anything can happen in December.

“I don’t think about Liverpool now – they are too far away.

“To take Liverpool we first have to think about Leicester , but our target is just winning the next game against Arsenal.

Read More

Mirror Football's Top Stories

“I would be really concerned if our game was not there. I would worry. But the games where we dropped points we know why.”

Meanwhile, Brazilian star ­Fernandinho is happy to stay in defence while they overcome their injury problems.

“I don’t think I’m being missed in midfield,” he said. “Rodri is playing really well in my midfield position. Of course, we are a little bit ­different, but he’s doing really well and has showed that.”

And, like Guardiola, the ­three-time Premier League ­winner is not giving up on the title yet, even though the odds are stacked against City.

“We have to stick together and work out how to fix our specific problems. I am a believer.

“So, until I see we have no chance any more, I still believe.That’s the best way.”