The Premier League title race is tight at the top, but the champions won’t be drawn away from the task at hand, according to their manager
Pep Guardiola has said that his Manchester City players will be too focused on preparing for the Carabao Cup final against Chelsea to think about Liverpool‘s clash with Manchester United on Sunday.
City face the Blues at Wembley a mere 14 days after hammering Maurizio Sarri’s side 6-0 at the Etihad, a result that heaped more pressure on an already under-fire manager, but Guardiola feels that the result could actually work against his team.
Indeed, the Catalan boss called for his players to remain focused against a Stamford Bridge side that will be out for revenge, meaning there will be little time to focus on title rivals Liverpool’s clash with United which kicks off a little more than two hours earlier.
“I think during the game [at Old Trafford] we will be preparing,” Guardiola told a press conference on Friday. “Changing socks, pants, shirts, underwear.
“Chelsea have incredible, professional players and they are proud. In that moment I was so happy, but today I wish we hadn’t beaten them 6-0.
“The players and manager will be focused to beat us. They will give extra. When we lost 2-0 at Stamford Bridge we couldn’t accept a defeat at home, but it is what it is.
“When that happens it’s tough for the manager and for the team. They played good but we were so clinical.”
Chelsea’s woes were added to on Friday when FIFA announced a two-window transfer ban for Sarri’s side, whose recent results have been far from what fans have come to expect from their team.
Guardiola himself endured struggles of his own during his first season in England and the former Barcelona boss admitted to being shocked at how little time coaches are given to implement their ideas before being shown the door.
“In my first year the club never doubted me,” he said. “I was never in a position in the media where the club was going to sack me.
“Conte won the title and then they lost one or two games and people said he would be sacked. I thought ‘wow’. My opinion of Sarri is always high.”