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Cup progress more important than rest for Man City boss Guardiola

By December 17, 2018No Comments

Pep Guardiola has dismissed suggestions his side’s Carabao Cup trip to Leicester this week could hand Liverpool an advantage in the title race.

Champions City are a point behind the Reds at the top of the Premier League after both sides won over the weekend.

Liverpool are now not in action until their next league game at Wolves on Friday night while City must travel to the King Power Stadium on Tuesday for a cup quarter-final.

Guardiola acknowledges the extra rest could benefit Jurgen Klopp’s side but his mentality will not allow him to ease up, particularly with another trophy in sight.

“We could say yes,” said Guardiola, when asked if the schedule assisted the Merseysiders. “But I’d prefer to be in the Carabao Cup than not.

“I cannot imagine going into a game thinking, ‘Oh, it will be better to lose because then we’ll have more time to rest’. I have never thought in that way.

“We’re going to prepare as always to win the game, to try to reach the semi-final and then we’d have two legs to try to reach another final.

“That is the only way a club like Manchester City – who 10 years ago were not in this position – can grow up, and get better and better. And that’s what we have to do.”

City, the Carabao Cup holders, welcomed back Kevin De Bruyne after six weeks on the sidelines against Everton on Saturday while Sergio Aguero was also on the bench after four games out.

Cup progress more important than rest for Man City boss Guardiola PLZ Soccer
Kevin De Bruyne made his return from injury as a second-half substitute against Everton (Martin Rickett/PA)

The likes of David Silva and Benjamin Mendy remain sidelined, however, while Fernandinho, Danilo and John Stones have all had knocks recently, meaning options could be limited.

Guardiola said: “We don’t have many players. We have a lot of injured players. Some players that played Saturday and in the last games have to play.

“But it is a chance to reach a semi-final and since I’ve been here my teams have never dropped one game, not even a friendly game. It is a competition, it must be respected, like we did it last season. We are going to try and win the game.”

Cup progress more important than rest for Man City boss Guardiola PLZ Soccer
Manchester City beat Arsenal in last season’s Carabao Cup final (Nick Potts/PA)

Further progress in the competition would add a two-legged semi-final to City’s January schedule but Guardiola accepts fixture congestion as a consequence of success.

He said: “We’re going to play the games until the end. If it happens it happens, if it doesn’t it doesn’t. If we arrive in February, March or April exhausted, unlucky. But what can we do?”