Pep Guardiola is convinced Arsenal’s eight-point advantage in the title race counts for far more than Manchester City’s past experience of winning the Premier League.
City, who have a game in hand, are bidding to chase down the Gunners and, having triumphed in four of the last five seasons, are far more familiar with the pressures of the run-in.
Yet City manager Guardiola insists that does not matter and feels his team must prove themselves all over again.
“The advantage is that they are eight points in front of us, this is the real advantage.
“The past is the past, experience doesn’t count. Absolutely not. Every day you start anew.
“When I hear, so many times, managers or players say, ‘I don’t have to show anything, I don’t have to demonstrate anything (because of what) I’ve done in the past’, it’s the most awful sentence.
“You have to prove it every single day again and again and again. The past is the past. For memories, when you are a grandfather, it’s OK, it’s nice.
“But the reality is tomorrow, when people come to the Etihad Stadium at 12.30pm, they are not thinking about the past.
“If people think, ‘I don’t have to show anything’ – no, you have to, again and again, otherwise you have to retire.”
That could put pressure on Arsenal, who face Leeds later in the day, but Guardiola does not think that would unnerve the London side despite their relative lack of familiarity with being out in front.
He said: “I don’t think so, I don’t believe in that, because at the end of the day it’s about what you have to do. You have to do it properly and when you play, you don’t play for experience.
“I never played a game thinking, ‘I’m going to win this game because of my experience in the past’.
“Every situation, every game, every opponent is different. Your personal and professional situation is completely different every season.
“That’s why I absolutely never pay any attention to that – in a good way or a bad way.”