Gary Neville says the key to challenging Manchester City is “an alignment of quality and mentality” before predicting the team he reckons will be their closest rivals next season.
City celebrated their third Premier League title on the trot with a comfortable 1-0 win over Chelsea at the Etihad, after Arsenal’s defeat to Nottingham Forest had secured it for them on Saturday.
The Gunners led the way for the majority of the season, but City kicked into gear after their 1-0 defeat to Tottenham at the start of February, with the only blot on their copybook since then a 1-1 draw with Forest.
And Neville, who predicted City would roar back to pip Arsenal to the title, doesn’t believe Mikel Arteta’s side will run them close next season, as he explained why he believes Liverpool are best placed to compete with the City juggernaut.
“Manchester City’s players have real quality, that goes without saying, but in the most difficult moments they’re able to put a run together and come through difficult challenges,” he told Sky Sports.
“That takes a lot, it takes a manager to guide them and bring stability. Other clubs have to look at that model – it happened at Manchester United under Alex Ferguson, at Liverpool under Bob Paisley and Bill Shankley, and Arsene Wenger had a period at Arsenal.
“You’ve got to be a great manager and have a great group of players to be able to do it consistently like [City] have. The other teams have got to aspire to that.
“At this moment in time, the ones who’ve proved it over the last five, six years are Liverpool.
“I know Arsenal have run City close this year but the only team I can say that have demonstrated they can get close to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City is Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool.
“They’ve dropped well below their standards this season but you don’t know whether they’ll get back to those standards next season – because they’ve proven they can do it before.”