Home Sport Pep Guardiola considers clash with Arsenal a final for Man City

Pep Guardiola considers clash with Arsenal a final for Man City

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Guardiola said he hoped all his players return from the international break fit and ready for the match against Arsenal, who lead the league on goal difference from Liverpool with City a point further back.

Manager of Manchester City, Pep Guardiola. Picture: EPA, ASH ALLEN

Manchester City are still in the running to pick up two trophies at Wembley this season but manager Pep Guardiola said all his focus is on their Premier League clash with title rivals Arsenal at the end of the month, a match he described as a “final”.

City face Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-finals next month, as well as Real Madrid in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, which has its title decider at Wembley this season.

Guardiola, however, said he was not looking past their next league fixture against Mikel Arteta’s side on the last day of this month.

“One step at a time,” he told City’s website.

“We have a final against Arsenal. I don’t want to think too much in the future right now. It’s been an intense period.”

Guardiola said he hoped all his players return from the international break fit and ready for the match against Arsenal, who lead the league on goal difference from Liverpool with City a point further back.

“I will not watch the (International) games,” he added. “I will rest and when they arrive we will see which players survive.

“When we come back we will have three days to prepare for the game against Arsenal. Let’s go.”

Rodri has warned Manchester City’s rivals that the best is yet to come after they brushed Newcastle aside to stay in the hunt for a second consecutive treble.

Pep Guardiola’s side cantered to a 2-0 win at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday to reach the FA Cup semi-finals for a sixth consecutive season.

City’s dominance was not reflected in a scoreline that featured two deflected strikes from Bernardo Silva.

The FA Cup holders are unbeaten in 22 games in all competitions and Spain midfielder Rodri believes there is more to come after the current international break.

“It’s going to be good for us, this break,” Rodri said. “You will see the best version of this team at the end of the season.

“Always it happens because of the manager, because of the standards of the club, because of ourselves and the ways we have learned over these years. This is what we want to do.

“We asked the lads to rest as much as possible. I know it’s tough but we have friendly games (for our national teams).

“It’s important to play for our national teams but also to think about the end of the season. I think the best is yet to come.”

Guardiola has been eager to deflect talk of repeating last season’s treble given the number of games remaining for City.

They sit third in the Premier League, one point behind leaders Arsenal, who are the next visitors to the Etihad Stadium after the break.

City have been drawn against Real Madrid in the quarter-finals of the Champions League and will face Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-finals.

Despite Guardiola’s cautious words, Rodri and the rest of the squad recognise the unique opportunity they have.

“If you ask ourselves before the season which position we would be able to be in, it would be exactly this one — involved in every competition, wanting to fight for everything. This is the situation that we’re going to get after the international break,” he said.

“We can win everything, of course. It will be so, so tough. The job is done up until now and now we have to do the last push.”

Reuters and AFP

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