Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Guardiola: Manchester City cannot afford to drop any points in Premier League run-in

SoccerNews in English Championship 4 Apr 2019

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Manchester City cannot afford to drop points during the run-in if they are to retain the Premier League title this season, according to Pep Guardiola.

City returned to the top of the table on Wednesday after a 2-0 win over Cardiff City at the Etihad Stadium, the three points moving them back above Liverpool.

One point separates the two sides after 32 matches of the 2018-19 campaign, and Guardiola knows Liverpool will be poised to take advantage of any slip-up his quadruple-chasing side may make.

“We have the feeling that if we drop points we will not be champions,” he told reporters. 

“So, I don’t know how you’re going to write, but mid-week against Cardiff, everybody said it was going to be easy. 

“The way we started, commitment in all details, the corners, the throw-ins, in the focus of what we have to do, and what surprised me the most was the few goals that we scored today with the chances that we had, especially in the second half.

“So, we should’ve scored more goals, that’s the regret that we had.”

An injury to Oleksandr Zinchenko was the only negative from the victory over Cardiff, and Guardiola remains uncertain whether the 22-year-old will be ready for Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Brighton and Hove Albion.

“It doesn’t look good for the next days,” said Guardiola. “[He] gave us a lot and he is an important player for us. He knows the mechanisms, he knows the way we want to play.

“You accept it [the injury] and we are going to find a solution. I don’t know right now which one because Danilo fought a lot to play in that position.

“[But] it’s not his natural position. We’ll see the decision we take for the FA Cup.”

That could see Benjamin Mendy come in, although Guardiola will wait to assess the Frenchman’s fitness, adding: “We’ll see how he feels, how he trains. We don’t have many options.”

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