Thursday, May 23, 2024

Manchester City thriving under ‘dead or alive’ title pressure – Pep Guardiola

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 14 Apr 2024

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Pep Guardiola believes his Manchester City players are thriving under the pressure of the title run-in.

City enjoyed an outstanding weekend in their quest for a fourth successive Premier League crown as an emphatic victory over Luton, coupled with defeats for rivals Liverpool and Arsenal, put them top of the table.

Guardiola’s side are now not only clear favourites to retain their title but in a strong position to secure an unprecedented second treble in succession.

“They like to play the pressure,” said City manager Guardiola, speaking after Saturday’s 5-1 hammering of the Hatters. “They like it when you are dead or alive.

“That doesn’t mean we are going to do it but I am pretty sure we will be there until the end because I know them, I see their faces in the meetings before games and how they prepare.

“That means we’ll be Premier League champions? No, no. I am not saying that. But we will compete, that is for sure.”

City now head into two decisive knockout games against Real Madrid in the Champions League and Chelsea in the FA Cup over the coming week in good heart.

Real are the first up at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday for the second leg of a quarter-final tie that is evenly poised at 3-3 after a pulsating game in the Spanish capital last week.

Full-back Kyle Walker, who has missed the last five games with a hamstring injury sustained on international duty last month, could return after being an unused substitute against Luton.

Guardiola said: “He feels much better but he was injured, so now we will see in the next days. But he is good, he feels good.

“Maybe he can help with minutes because it is a ‘final’ but I don’t want to lose him for a long time if he gets injured. He will train a bit more now and we will decide.

“I know how important Kyle is against the players from Real Madrid but he was not in Madrid and Manu (Akanji), Josko (Gvardiol), John (Stones) and Ruben (Dias) played incredibly well. We will see.”

Fellow defender Stones should be fit despite being left out of the squad altogether on Saturday as a precaution.

Guardiola said: “He had some problems, some niggles, but he’s fine.

“He is not injured but he felt uncomfortable and we didn’t want to take risks. That is all.”

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