Premier League not a two-horse race with Man United - Pep Guardiola
MANCHESTER -- Pep Guardiola has dismissed suggestions that the Premier League is a two-horse race between the Manchester clubs.
His City side and Jose Mourinho's United are equal top of the table with an identical record on points and goal difference after just five games of the season.
But champions Chelsea are just three points behind and Guardiola insists it is too early to write off any of last season's top-six, which also includes Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal.
"There are six teams [that can win the league]," he told a news conference ahead of Saturday's game with Crystal Palace. "We are just two or three points in front of the other ones and it's just five games.
"Last season we started quite well, quite similar, similar goals but we have less points than last season. And I think it was a good season but not good enough to fight against the best teams like Chelsea and Tottenham.
"All the other teams -- like Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea of course -- they are contenders for the Premier League but the important thing is to be there."
As well as sharing top spot, Guardiola also had similar views to Mourinho on the Carabao Cup following City's 2-1 win over West Brom in midweek.
The United boss suggested English clubs could benefit in Europe if the competition was scrapped and Guardiola, who made eight changes to his side for the trip to The Hawthorns, indicated that he agreed with Mourinho's comments.
Asked for his opinion on Mourinho's thoughts, he said: "[They are] quite similar, quite similar. So business is business. We have a lot of games. If you have to play in a competition you have to play in it. It's good for the people you don't use a lot.
"You can imagine going against a Tony Pulis team and playing 90 minutes in those conditions, then you spend three or four hours on the bus. Then three days later, it's Crystal Palace, three days later, Shakhtar Donetsk, three or four days later, Stamford Bridge.
"So for the managers, there's a lot of wasted energy. But we knew that before, so it's not a complaint in those terms. If we have to play, we have to play."
City face Palace on Saturday, who are without a point or even a goal in the Premier League this season. Vincent Kompany will come into contention after returning to training but Ilkay Gundogan will miss out, although his injury scare is not bad as first feared and he could be back training with the first team today.
It will be Roy Hodgson's second game in charge at Palace and Guardiola has huge admiration for his energy at the 70 and insists he will not be coaching at that age.
"Definitely not," he joked when asked if he would be still a coach. "I promise you. I love golf. But I admire him.
"He's had a long career and I respect that. I respect Gareth Barry for playing 600 games in the Premier League. I congratulate him. That is amazing. I love that. I love the people who stay there for a long time.
"They have ups and downs, success and not success, and they keep going, because of their passion. I admire him at 70 to have the energy to put in front of the players, to prepare for the games, have the adrenaline to know what's going to happen."
Meanwhile, City confirmed that youngster Ryan Corrigan has signed his first professional deal at the club.
Jonathan is ESPN FC's Manchester City correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @jonnysmiffy.