New Premier League boss Richard Masters shied away from expressing concern about Liverpool's title dominance after Pep Guardiola's swipe at the weekend.
Guardiola caused a storm when he suggested that the Premier League should be concerned about the way Jurgen Klopp's team are easing to the title, going 22 points clear with 13 games left after Manchester City slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Spurs.
Guardiola was taking a dig at Masters' predecessor Richard Scudamore, who had riled City by saying he wanted the competition to be closer after they won it by 19 points in 2018.
He said “The last two seasons, it was an owner from the Premier League that says that can’t happen again.
“City winning the titles that way with 100 points is not good for the Premier League, now it’s Liverpool, the owner has to be concerned again.”
Scudamore said in August 2018, on the eve of a new season, and three months after City had won the title in record time: “It doesn't take away from City's excellence, but we want the season to go to the last, I'd like multiple trophies needed in various locations on the last day because we don't know how it will end.”
Masters was appointed as the new chief executive in December, and was asked what he thought of Liverpool’s stroll, and he backed away from being as strident as Scudamore.
The new man had already distanced himself from Scudamore's comments in the summer, when he was acting chief executive, saying City's achievement should be "celebrated" before predicting that this season's race would be close.
He said that people are “fascinated with the story” and pointed to the fact that TV audiences have never been higher:
In reply to a question about Guardiola’s comments, he said: “What Richard was saying was that what you want is the title race and the competition for European places to be close, a vibrant relegation battle and surprises all over the league.
“It is not specific to any particular club. You can bet on the Premier League providing something which keeps the story going and keeps people’s interest.
“Obviously Liverpool are sitting here today 22 points ahead of the rest of the Premier League, but our television audiences have never been higher.
“People are fascinated with that story probably because they have not won it.
“I remember being asked in the summer if I was concerned that City would go again and win it three times in a row.
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“I said I thought it was going to be close – but I was wrong!
“That is the beauty of the Premier League. You can’t even guess what is going to happen for the rest of this season, let alone next.
“We’re entirely neutral on the clubs, what we like is as much competitive edge as possible. The Premier League always delivers something in terms of its narrative.
“The fact that Liverpool are 22 points ahead of their nearest rivals shows what a great side they are. But it’s not just about the top, it’s about the European spots and the rest of the league. There’s always something to keep people excited.”