PEP GUARDIOLA was left “trembling” as Manchester City clung on for victory at Burnley.
And Clarets boss Sean Dyche was surprised to see the Etihad chief screaming at his players to get the ball in the corner to wind the clock down.
City looked like they could drop points — which would have allowed Liverpool to take control of the title race.
But City used all the tricks in the book to hang on after Sergio Aguero squeezed home the winner just after the hour.
He also had FOUR centre-backs on the pitch for the final few minutes, with John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi coming off the bench.
Dyche said it was a sign of how much Guardiola wants to win — but also shows how tense their epic battle with Liverpool has become.
The Turf Moor chief said: “I heard Pep Guardiola screaming ‘get it in the corner’. Even the best sides have to do it. Sometimes they have to do it as well.
I heard Pep Guardiola screaming ‘get it in the corner’. Even the best sides have to do it.
“Today was one of those times. It was refreshing to hear a top manager scream to his players ‘get it in the corner’.
“It is sign of him wanting to win. You have to do what he wants to do to win.
“There were moments in the second half where you saw the game slowing down.
“I have got no problem with it. They are a top side but they still have to do the details.”
Guardiola was relieved to hear the final whistle — as he had no more defenders left to throw on.
He said: “I was trembling. We didn’t have another one.”
Guardiola and his backroom staff had been bothered by the dry Turf Moor pitch as they struggled to find a way through.
He said: “It was too dry. When the opponents come to the Etihad we do the stadium like we want. Then away they do it the way they like.
“That’s why I like the Premier League. You get all the playing conditions.
“That’s why it is the nicest one, the most important.”
Even so, his team found a way to win again — just as they generally seem to do. That makes it 12 league wins in a row.
If they can find two more — against Leicester and Brighton — it will be enough to break Liverpool hearts.
Guardiola said: “The distance we have to the third, fourth, fifth positions. To have more than 20 points on United and Arsenal and Tottenham, it is incredible.
“I could not expect that at the start of season or especially in winter time. We have won 12 games in a row. It is incredible.
“Let’s keep going. Just two games. It’s tough for Liverpool and it’s tough for us, with 92 points and still not champions.
“They push us, we push them. It’s the reality. We have 192 points over two seasons.
“Maybe one team in the history will make 100 points in a season but then to make 92 or 98 the next year, I bet that is not going to happen often.”
Guardiola hopes his team can use their disappointment at exiting the Champions League to their advantage in the next two weeks.
While Liverpool face a double-headed semi- final against Barcelona, City will finally have a chance to put their feet up.
He said: “Now we have time for recovery, rest and to enjoy — unfortunately — the semi-finals of the Champions League.
“Then we go to Leicester game — full gas — to try to win and go to the last one to try to win.”