Pep Guardiola wants his Manchester City players to ignore Liverpool’s fixtures in the Premier League title race.
City narrowed the gap to leaders Liverpool back to four points on Monday with a 3-0 home win against 10-man Wolves, Gabriel Jesus on target with a brace before Conor Coady’s late own goal.
But Liverpool host Crystal Palace prior to City’s next game, so the Reds’ cushion could again be seven points before Guardiola’s side travel to managerless Huddersfield Town on Sunday.
Guardiola, though, does not want City to worry about Liverpool’s results, his side having won a fifth straight game in all competitions while recording their first league clean sheet since November.
“I don’t have a magician’s ball to discover when they are going to lose points, I don’t know,” he told reporters. “And I said to them [the players], don’t look and be scared, don’t watch the calendar for the Liverpool games – forget about it.
“Because normally when that happens you lose your games, in my experience. If you think they are going to lose in that game or that game, you are distracted and you lose your games. And after, it’s over.
“So the best way is the next game is Huddersfield, new manager, so what can you do to beat them? And go. If we play and win games and after that Liverpool win, I am pretty sure I will be here and I’ll congratulate Jurgen and their team. Because they will be well deserved.
“All we can do is be in there. Be in there and feel we are there, and win our games. Today we did it. Monday, I don’t always like to play Monday when everybody has already played, against one team you see the incredible results they [Wolves] had of course, it’s 10 against 11 so it’s a little bit easier, but that’s why I’m very pleased for the game today.”
— Aymeric Laporte (@Laporte) January 14, 2019
Although City ended the Reds’ unbeaten start to the season, Liverpool bounced back with a 1-0 win at Brighton and Hove Albion to stay clear of the champions.
Guardiola, though, is delighted with the way his side are performing in their title defence, City having set a record 100 points in last term’s memorable success.
“We cannot play the games against Liverpool, so we cannot do anything about their own games. They belong to them,” Guardiola continued.
“All we can do is win our games. We spoke many times in the last hours with our players so we cannot control what they do, we can control what we do. The only thing to do is be there, and maybe one day they fell. But it is sure that if we don’t win, they will be champions.
“That’s why we have to put pressure by winning our games. We speak about that. And we have done incredible numbers. Incredible numbers again, after what we did last season, it’s not easy to be so consistent, it is incredible the numbers that we had in this period.
“Numbers to be champions, no problem at all. But one team, they have done better so far. That’s all you can do, be in there. Be in there until the end, and then results will dictate who will win.”
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