(Reuters) - Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said it was “impossible” for his side to go through the season unbeaten after a 2-1 win at Huddersfield Town on Sunday gave them the best ever start to a Premier League campaign.
City have been in stunning form with 37 points from a possible 39 this season and are unbeaten in 26 matches in all competitions stretching back to last term.
Ominously for their title rivals Guardiola’s side show no signs of slowing down, although the Spaniard was quick to dismiss the notion that City could match Arsenal, who are the only side to finish a Premier League campaign unbeaten.
”We are going to lose a game,“ Guardiola told reporters on Sunday. ”Today was so close. With one game a week, you are less likely to drop points, but with three games a week and four competitions, it is impossible.
”When it happens, I want to see how we are going to react.
“Eighteen wins in a row is amazing, including 11 Premier League wins in a row. We are in a good moment. It was a big win in a real Premier League game.”
Arsenal’s ‘2003-04’ Invincibles’, Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea side who won a Premier League-record 95 points the next season, and the Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired Manchester United of 2007-08 are among the teams touted as the Premier League’s greatest.
But City are now firmly entrenched in that debate and, in blazing to an eight-point lead after 13 games, they have set an unprecedented level of performance in the Premier League.
While their seemingly unstoppable rise has been built upon their irresistible attack, it was resilience that saw beat promoted Huddersfield for their 18th successive victory.
City posses an attacking arsenal few sides in world football can match, but it is perhaps the form of their rejuvenated England winger Raheem Sterling that will please Guardiola most.
The 22-year-old had struggled for consistency since his big-money move from Liverpool in 2015, but has now scored 12 goals in 18 appearance in all competitions -- his best return in any single season.
On Sunday he was at the heart of City’s best play, winning the penalty for Sergio Aguero’s equaliser before bundling home the winner in the 84th minute.
“It’s not just about how many goals he scores or how many chances he creates,” Guardiola said.
“It’s also about how he keeps the ball and his movement. He is still young and we can improve him to become a better player. We are so happy with his performance.”
Reporting by Tom Hayward; Editing by Ken Ferris