EPL

We’re going for it: Pep Guardiola relishing crunch period as Man City eye titles

By Sports Desk February 26, 2024

Pep Guardiola is relishing the decisive phase of the season and has promised Manchester City are again “going for it”.

The treble winners are in strong contention to repeat last season’s glories in the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup.

March will be a crucial month with a derby against Manchester United followed by clashes against title rivals Liverpool and Arsenal. They will also look to wrap up their place in the Champions League quarter-finals as they host FC Copenhagen leading 3-1 after the first leg of their last-16 tie.

Prior to that comes an FA Cup fifth-round trip to Luton on Tuesday and Guardiola is looking forward to that and the coming weeks.

The City manager said: “So after this game, February is over. Just two-and-a-half, three months to end of the season and we’ve arrived here still being there (in the competitions).

“Tomorrow is a final, like every game in Premier League and of course in Champions League.

“The decisive part of the season is here ahead of us, in front of us, not far away, and we are going for it.

“It’s better to play for this than being 10th in the table and (having) no chance for that. The feeling is that if you lose – bye-bye. It’s so nice.

“The problem is September, October – you see the expectations far, far away. In that moment you don’t think about any titles.

“We don’t even now. I would say how we’ll define the end of March, beginning of April depends on what we have done this next month. Tomorrow and this month will (determine) our options.”

City have close to a fully-fit squad for the trip to Kenilworth Road after Jack Grealish returned to the squad as an unused substitute at Bournemouth on Saturday following a groin injury.

Defender Josko Gvardiol is now the team’s only notable absentee with an ankle problem and Guardiola is hopeful he will return soon.

City needed to come from behind to beat relegation battlers Luton away in December and Guardiola is anticipating another tricky encounter.

He said: “It will be even more difficult. We saw all the games played there against the top, top sides, and the reason why is clear – football goes in the direction Luton play, so, so aggressive.

“It doesn’t matter if you are at top of the league, the bottom or in the middle, (they have) courage to play and face the challenge without any fear.

“And after, it’s not just that. They have played direct channels but at the same time they have the ability. I think they’ve improved a lot since we met them there with their build-up play and the patterns are so clear.”

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