Friday, March 22, 2019

Academy players rested as Guardiola goes full strength for FA Cup

SoccerNews in FA Cup 25 Jan 2019

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Manchester City’s youngsters will take a back seat for the FA Cup as Pep Guardiola has a fully fit squad to select from against Burnley.

City booked their place in the EFL Cup final on Wednesday with a 1-0 victory over Burton Albion, Sergio Aguero’s 26th-minute strike sealing a 10-0 aggregate triumph.

That City team contained three academy players alongside Aro Muric and Phil Foden, with Felix Nmecha also coming off the bench at the Pirelli Stadium.

Academy players have featured heavily in City’s progression through that competition, but Guardiola does not plan to use them in the FA Cup fourth round.

“We always try to make a strong team, it’s the FA Cup against a Premier league side like Burnley, so we’ll play the best team to win,” the Catalan told a media conference.

“Today in the big leagues when you drop points, you’re not going to win the leagues or cups. You have to win every game if you want to stay until the end to win the league.”

He added: “They [the squad] are quite well. We’ll see today. Some players have a few problems but I think they will be ok for tomorrow.

“[The youngsters] have to be prepared just in case. But now, apart from Vinny [Kompany], we have a fit squad and everybody can play. So tomorrow we will not play any players from the academy.”

City go into the cup clash unbeaten in seven and having kept five successive clean sheets in all competitions, but he knows a resurgent Burnley will be no pushovers.

“When I hear that to Burnley the FA Cup isn’t the top agenda, does that mean 11 players are going to play and not want to win? I can’t believe it,” Guardiola said.

“They’re going to try tomorrow to win. What they did last season was incredible. They’re five or six wins in a row and I’ve got a lot of respect for what they’ve done.”

 

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