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Sterling is available for selection for City’s Premier League opener against Arsenal this weekend. — Reuters pic

Sterling is available for selection for City’s Premier League opener against Arsenal this weekend. — Reuters pic

"I am looking every day and the players are smiling in training with a big collective spirit".

It was a memorable campaign but City boss Guardiola is well aware that rival teams and managers will be determined to improve and cut them down.

Thus, the 29-year-old will have a point to prove when he makes his Premier League debut on Sunday.

That's an nearly impossible task against City, who set out to defend their title the same as last season - plus Riyad Mahrez.

"For me this is a new way and a new process, the past is important for this club and the people working here, but we are starting something new with the same players". That's the basic principle, ' he urged.

Emery has commented recently that he wants his team to play like City, and he will demand intensity and pressing that was often lacking from his predecessor's teams.

"I can not see any way past Manchester City, in terms of who will win it".

Pep Guardiola claims simply winning matches, not more titles, is his main motivation as champions City begin their Premier League defence.

"City topped the table by 19 points last time around - 37 clear of Arsenal - but Guardiola, who will not be offering any words of advice to his opposite number this weekend, is confident the men from north London will be in the mix come the end of the season". Look at how much Kevin (de Bruyne) or (David) Silva ran last season.

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However, after a 10-week break, the EPL is here with us again.

Guardiola's side might become more technical at the back this season, with Aymeric Laporte and John Stones seemingly his first-choice combination, with the more rugged Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi back-ups. Are you telling me they didn't deserve to play?

Guardiola admits it's not part of the job he likes.

"He makes it hard for teams to play against them".

During the season we will have really bad moments - it is impossible to have the ideal season all the time - but when you win one title you can win another one. But Sunday, we need to show on the pitch our performance at a big level. They have to compete between each other and accept my rules.

Eventually, Stones might be deployed as a holding midfielder with City losing out to Chelsea in the race for Jorginho.

Arsenal manager Unai Emery launches the post-Wenger era on Sunday.

No club has retained the title since Manchester United in 2008-09.

Speaking ahead of his side's opening game at Arsenal, live on Sky Sports, Guardiola said: "We were the best, definitely, no doubts about that, but we don't play alone".

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