It has been a title surge like no other.
Pep Guardiola has guided Manchester City to a third Premier League crown in four years, a championship confirmed after defeat for Manchester United by Leicester City on Tuesday night.
It had been inevitable for weeks – longer, even – since City had put together an incredible run of victories after the turn of the year.
But if anything, despite taking the championship with three games left of the season, it had also been one of the toughest.
City have been the three r’s. Relentless. Resilient. Remarkable.
City had been eighth in the table on Christmas Day but Guardiola never lost faith as his side went on to complete 21 consecutive wins in all competitions.
Guardiola said: “This has been a season and a Premier League title like no other. This was the hardest one.
“We will always remember this season for the way that we won. I am so proud to be the manager here and of this group of players,” said Guardiola, whose side beat Tottenham at Wembley to win the Carabao Cup final last month and who now have the opportunity to claim a treble when they take on Chelsea in the Champions League final on 29 May.
“They are so special. To come through this season – with all the restrictions and difficulties we’ve faced – and show the consistency we have is remarkable.
“It is relentless. Every single day, they are there, fighting for success, trying always to be better. They have been so, so resilient.
“That is equally true of each and every member of our backroom staff, who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that our players are fully equipped to take on the unexpected challenges and new routines throughout such a turbulent year.
“Not forgetting, of course, all of the staff across our organisation who work to make this club the success it is.”
Guardiola continued: “At the start of every season, the Premier League is the most important title for us. This is the one where you have to be there every three days, playing all your rivals home and away.
“Only by being the very best, week in week out, can you win this competition. It is a huge success.
“It is so important to say a huge thank you to all our fans. In our toughest moments, we couldn’t hear the crowd get behind us as usual, but we know they are with us everywhere we go and that has lifted us.
“I promise them we sense their love, we appreciate it and we could not have done what we have done without it. I hope we can all celebrate together one day not too far away.”
Following confirmation of the title, City fans celebrated outside the Etihad Stadium.
Guardiola will relish the opportunity to mark the achievement with the club’s supporters once again when some will be allowed into the ground for the final home match of the league season on May 23.
“I am looking forward to the Everton game, we will lift the trophy with 10,000 people I think who will be coming to the stadium, it will be incredible,” Guardiola said in a video posted on the Manchester City Twitter page.
“This business without these people is not the same, and hopefully next season we can enjoy it at all the Premier League teams.”
Guardiola will now take his side to Newcastle on Friday confirmed as England’s best once again – and still with the opportunity to make more history.