EPL

Guardiola: City treating every game as a knockout in pursuit of double

By Sports Desk April 22, 2022

Pep Guardiola says Manchester City are treating every fixture as a knockout game in their pursuit of a Premier League and Champions League double.

City hold a one-point lead over Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table with six matches to play ahead of a clash with Watford at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

They will also have home advantage for a Champions League semi-final first leg against LaLiga leaders Real Madrid next Tuesday.

City's hopes of winning a treble were ended when they were beaten 3-2 by Liverpool in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley last weekend, but they have back-to-back Premier League titles and a first Champions League triumph in their sights.

Guardiola knows they cannot afford any slip-ups in the hunt for more trophies.

Asked if they are taking the mindset that each game is a knockout, the City boss told reporters on Friday: "Definitely. We can't drop points, but they [Liverpool] can't either.

"The players know it, we were in this position before. We played a final versus Brighton to be able to play another one. If we win we have a chance to play another.

"We try to recover injured players, be fresh in the mind. When we finish tomorrow, another [game] in three days in Champions League. Then Leeds. Be fresh, relax, ready for the moment of the game."

Guardiola says City are relishing the challenge of trying win more silverware.

"Of course we enjoy it, prefer to be in this position than don't have chance to make back-to-back titles," he said.

"After the game, remains six games, already qualified for Champion League, big success. Now we target the Premier League.

Guardiola revealed the fitness of defenders Kyle Walker, Nathan Ake and John Stones will be assessed ahead of the visit of Watford.

Second-bottom Watford will have to pull off a great to avoid an immediate return to the Championship, but Guardiola expects Roy Hodgson's side to pose a threat.

He said: "Roy Hodgson has incredible experience as manager, we struggled to break down Palace [when Hodgson was in charge].

"Every game is the of the same importance. Watford have their quality,,their physicality up front. We have to be ourselves and get three points."

City could be four points clear by the time Liverpool face Everton in the Merseyside derby on Sunday.

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