PEP GUARDIOLA clinched a third Prem title with Manchester City and claimed it was his hardest yet.
Manchester United’s 2-1 home defeat to Leicester meant the party could finally start on the blue side of town.
Guardiola called it a “season like no other” after they battled with the effects of the pandemic to keep going in four competitions until late April.
City’s boss was thrilled by his side’s playing style and dedicated the success to club legend Colin Bell, who passed away in the New Year, aged 74.
Guardiola said: “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.
“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.
“This has been a season and a Premier League title like no other. This was the hardest one.
“It has been such a hard year for so many people. This one is really for our fans and for Colin Bell and all his family.”
City already have a ‘double’ as they won the Carabao Cup last month — and could yet add the Champions League as they face Chelsea in the final on May 29.
CASINO SIGN UP OFFER: CLAIM UP TO £800 IN CASINO BONUS CASH
But Pep always maintains being champions of England is what he covets more than most — and this title challenge has been particularly challenging.
City had a short pre-season due to their involvement in last term’s Champions League in mid-August.
They also had to shut the club due to a Covid outbreak at Christmas.
That left them with just 14 fully-fit players for the trip to Chelsea early in the New Year — but they won there as part of a 15-match winning streak in the league.
Pep, 50, said: “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.”
This is City’s fifth title in nine years — and Pep joins Prem legends Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho on three.
It means the former Barcelona coach has now won eight major trophies in his five years in England — plus two Community Shields.
City will be presented with the trophy when Everton visit the Etihad on the Prem’s final day a week on Sunday, when 10,000 fans will be allowed in.
Guardiola added: “It is so important to say a huge thank you to our fans. I hope we can all celebrate together one day not too far away.
“I promise them we sense their love, we appreciate it and we could not have done what we have done without it.”
⚽ Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds