Pep Guardiola thinks Manchester City’s upcoming three-game stretch will define their season.
The defending Premier League champions kicked off March with a 2-0 victory against Newcastle United at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, to keep up the pressure on leaders Arsenal.
The Gunners appeared to have faltered under that pressure as they went down 2-0 to Bournemouth but Reiss Nelson’s stunning finish sealed a remarkable comeback.
A clash with Crystal Palace is next up for City in the top flight, before a Champions League encounter with RB Leipzig – that last-16 tie is level at 1-1 – and FA Cup meeting with Vincent Kompany’s Burnley.
With the three games effectively forming major hurdles towards City’s hopes of trophy success this term, Guardiola is not underestimating its make-or-break potential for their campaign.
“Before the international break, we have three games in different competitions that will define our season,” he told reporters.
“Crystal Palace, RB Leipzig and Burnley. They will define what we want to do for the rest of the season.”
100 – Manchester City’s Ederson has become the third fastest goalkeeper in Premier League history to reach 100 clean sheets (208 apps), after Petr Cech (180 apps) and Pepe Reina (198 apps). Shutout. pic.twitter.com/go8OseStee
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 4, 2023
While the margin of victory against Newcastle suggested a degree of comfort to their performance, Guardiola was insistent his side were forced to work for their win.
“It’s Newcastle,” he added. “They are an exceptional team. The set-pieces from [Kieran] Trippier, every corner, every kick, they are in a great position.
“They have an exceptional holding midfield. [They were] in the final of the EFL Cup a week ago.
“They’ve been in the top five all season. It’s an incredible result for us, because it was a tricky game.”
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