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Man City boss Pep Guardiola makes statement on next season – but will plan HELP rivals? | Football | Sport

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Man City boss Pep Guardiola makes statement on next season – but will plan HELP rivals? (Image: GETTY)

City’s attempt to land an unprecedented quadruple this season – a dream which crashed in agonising fashion against Tottenham in the Champions League on Wednesday – has left them stretched at times.

More so than some rivals Liverpool who bowed out of the domestic cups early after fielding weakened sides.

But ahead of Saturday lunchtime’s crucial Premier League rematch against midweek conquerors Spurs, the Manchester City boss insisted he cannot and will not change the way he is wired.

If that means leaving themselves open to finishing the season missing out, so be it.

“I don’t understand [that mentality] in my profession to say I don’t want to win, I don’t understand that. If I lose it’s because the opponent beat me or beat us,” he said. “I’m not going to drop any competitions because maybe in the future it will be better.

“Who knows what’s going to happen in the future the present is this game and I will try. I will dream next season of fighting for the four titles, that’s my dream.”

City rejoin the Premier League title chase against Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs in a match which appears key to whether they finish anything more than the Carabao Cup to show for all their efforts.

Knocked out of the Champions League in a chaotic yet thrilling finale to their campaign on Wednesday, defeat today would deal a shuddering blow to their hopes of holding on to their domestic title.

Man City

Man City boss Pep Guardiola makes statement on next season – but will plan HELP rivals? (Image: GETTY)

And who knows what effect that might have on the FA Cup Final against Watford?

Guardiola, who only reached for a second string side on a couple of occasions in the Carabao and FA Cups and only then against lower league opposition once, against Burton, with the round already won, insisted winning the next game is the only consideration he can have.

“In the FA Cup against Newport, [we] needed Fernandinho when teams play long balls, I needed him because the team is incredible in that moment Fernandinho felt good and maybe in the next round he felt injured,” Guardiola said.

“So then maybe okay we would play [Ilkay] Gundogan or another one. We cannot control that Kevin De Bruyne or [Benjamin] Mendy is injured for six months or seven months, it happened.”

Despite suggesting he would have liked more time to prepare his side for the quarter final first leg against Spurs – their FA Cup semi final against Brighton at Wembley took place three days before – Guardiola offered no excuses for defeat.

Man City

Man City boss Pep Guardiola makes statement on next season – but will plan HELP rivals? (Image: GETTY)

Yet his failure to get past the quarter finals with Manchester City in each of his three years – losing to Monaco in the last 16 in 2017, and Liverpool in the last eight last season – and a worrying defensive record at the sharp end of European competitions is becoming a blot on his otherwise impressive record at the Etihad.

City conceded six goals against Monaco over two legs two years ago, five against Liverpool last year and four against Spurs but Guardiola is similarly unrepentant.

“We concede a lot but we score a lot,” he said. “But the way we play with a good game for everyone here and around the world we’re not going to change.

“Of course we want to improve. We have to be focussed but it happens. People make mistakes, they play and make a good action or bad. We have to accept it. But all season, not just this specific games, I’m proud. I like to see them play like this.”

Man City

Man City boss Pep Guardiola makes statement on next season – but will plan HELP rivals? (Image: GETTY)

Guardiola has told his City players to use the “hurt” of their Champions League heartache in order to fire them to the Premier League title.

The City boss admitted he does not know how his side will react back at the scene of Wednesday’s agony when they face Spurs again but he insisted that they must try to use the defeat as a motivation.

“If you believe it doesn’t hurt, or [you say] forget it, I’d say no. I want to see my players know what they did on Wednesday,” he said.

“I don’t want to see them saying it doesn’t matter, more that we were close. We have to live with that feeling.

Man City

Man City boss Pep Guardiola makes statement on next season – but will plan HELP rivals? (Image: GETTY)

“How will they react? You never know how you’ll react, we were out other times, and we reacted well. But really I don’t know.

“It’s football, it’s life and you have to fight and react. It was incredible how we reacted, scoring three goals [after going 2-1 down]. It will be on our minds but looking back it will help us to move forward.

“Yes it was a tough night but the day after we move forward and these players have the opportunity to show they can do that.”

Guardiola was adamant the sudden absence of Champions League considerations should not be viewed as a positive despite freeing up City’s schedule significantly from now to the end of the season.

Man City

Man City boss Pep Guardiola makes statement on next season – but will plan HELP rivals? (Image: GETTY)

Similarly he believes the extra games Liverpool will now tackled against Barcelona will not offer an advantage for his side.

“I would prefer to be in the semi finals and [with] the quadruple closer so [it offers] no advantage at this stage. In November and December when you have more games like Liverpool went out of both cups early, we played nine or 10 more.

“But now at this stage of the season, it isn’t any influence with rest.

“We have to win tomorrow – that’s the title race. What Liverpool do against Cardiff [tomorrow] or Newcastle [in between the two Champions League semi-finals against Barcelona] I’m not involved in.”



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