EFL

Guardiola wants finals habit at Man City

By Sports Desk January 23, 2019

Pep Guardiola said Manchester City must stay in the habit of playing in finals after reaching the EFL Cup decider.

Premier League champions City coasted through to the final following Wednesday's 1-0 victory at Burton Albion, which completed a 10-0 rout on aggregate.

City – second in the Premier League and preparing for the Champions League last 16 – will look to claim back-to-back EFL Cup titles when they face the winners of Chelsea and Tottenham at Wembley.

After Sergio Aguero capped off the one-sided semi-final tie midweek, City manager Guardiola told reporters: "We enjoy the moment because we are in a final. We know in Wembley, as we lived last season, it's quite special. It's nice to play a final in Wembley.

"[We must] protect the habit – the habit of getting into the final. Of course going to try to win it but it will not be easy because Tottenham and Chelsea are incredible teams like Arsenal was last season but we are going to try.

"Everybody wants to play, that is a good signal. Why should we not try to do it well and arrive at the final? We've made back-to-back finals in this competition. People say: 'No, the club, this team, they lack consistency.' That's completely the opposite.

"I think we showed that when we arrive in the final, and in this competition next season if we are in final again it's because every game is important."

Kevin De Bruyne and Benjamin Mendy were handed crucial minutes in the trip to Burton Albion as Guardiola named an XI filled with experience and youth.

City star De Bruyne played 63 minutes before he was replaced by full-back Mendy, who made his return following a knee injury.

"I wanted to see Kevin with a lot touches," Guardiola added. "He is a player who needs to be in contact with the ball. Playing in that position you normally touch the ball more.

"That's why we played that game for his training. He was a long time injured. You need the power in your legs and the minutes. That's why it was so important to play 90 minutes. We need him and step by step he's coming back.

"It was good [for Mendy]. I spoke with him after the game and he said he had no pain, a little bit tired but no pain in the knee and that's important. And we saw in the few minutes he arrived three or four times at the by-line, getting in the crosses and he's a special talent. Hopefully he can step-by-step get minutes and he can help us in the last part of the season."

Related items

  • Arsenal boss Emery wants 'three or four' new signings Arsenal boss Emery wants 'three or four' new signings

    Arsenal head coach Unai Emery said he wants to sign "three or four players" ahead of the 2019-20 Premier League season.

    It has been a quiet transfer window so far for Arsenal, who have been linked with moves for Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney, Saint-Etienne teenager William Saliba, Real Madrid's Dani Ceballos and Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha.

    However, Arsenal are reportedly close to signing Saliba in a deal which would see the 18-year-old loaned back to Saint-Etienne until the end of the season.

    Speaking to reporters following Arsenal's 3-0 win over Fiorentina at the International Champions Cup on Saturday, Emery said: "I am patient because we want to choose the best solution.

    "Some players are very expensive and we are waiting for this possibility because we don't want now to go to the second line of players. We are waiting and really we have very good young players.

    "We are aware we also need to improve some areas in this squad. But I only want to sign three or four players only if we can be sure they are coming to improve our squad.

    "There are a lot of names and the club is working. Edu is very close to me every day and also with the Kroenke family.

    "I want to send a message to all our supporters that we want to [build] the best squad possible."

    While Arsenal try to sign players, Eddie Nketiah has impressed on the United States tour and the 20-year-old continued his fine form against Fiorentina in Charlotte.

    After scoring a late winner against Bayern Munich on Wednesday, Nketiah netted a brace to lead Arsenal past Fiorentina in North Carolina.

    Asked if Nketiah will remain at Arsenal instead of being loaned out, Emery said: "I spoke with him and with the club. He has started with a doubt if it is better for him to stay here with us or leave to play more minutes with another team.

    "But we have examples last year of some players who wanted to go away and didn’t play all we wanted. I said to him to first be focused here. If you earn the right to be with us it’s because I can promise you that you are going to have minutes. But in those minutes you need to learn.

    "And in the pre-season at the moment he’s playing like we want. The young players who are here, this is the moment for them to show how we can use them to help us in the season."

  • Maguire not affected by United and City speculation – Morgan Maguire not affected by United and City speculation – Morgan

    Leicester City star Harry Maguire has not been affected by links to Manchester United and Manchester City, insisted captain Wes Morgan.

    Maguire has emerged as a target for Manchester neighbours United and City, with the Red Devils reportedly the favourites to sign the England centre-back.

    Leicester have rejected two bids for Maguire, who is thought to be valued at £80million by the Premier League side, as the 26-year-old's future continues to dominate headlines.

    Amid the transfer rumours, Leicester defender Morgan said in-demand team-mate Maguire has not changed.

    "He has been the same Harry that we know and love," said Morgan. "You can see in the games he's putting 100 per cent effort into everything he does and his quality is there for everyone to see. 

    "I don't know what's going to happen in the future but for now he's still a Leicester player and we enjoy having him here. He's said nothing.

    "There's going to be speculation because he's a top-class player who has done well at international level. Big teams are going to take an interest and that goes for many of our top players. People want our best players and he is one of them.

    "In training, it's the same old banter, the same old training. He's part of Leicester so we just treat him the same."

     

  • Bale close to leaving Real Madrid – Zidane Bale close to leaving Real Madrid – Zidane

    Zinedine Zidane said Gareth Bale is close to leaving Real Madrid after he was left out of Saturday's International Champions Cup clash against Bayern Munich.

    Bale has been deemed surplus to requirements by head coach Zidane and the Welsh star was absent as Madrid lost 3-1 to Bayern in Houston.

    The 30-year-old, who has three seasons remaining on his contract, has been linked to former club Tottenham, Manchester United and Bayern.

    And Bale's future is close to being resolved, with Zidane determined to sell the Wales international sooner rather than later.

    Asked why Bale was left out of the squad on Saturday, Zidane told reporters: "Bale did not play because he is very close to leaving.

    "We hope he leaves soon, it would be best for everyone. We are working on his transfer to a new team."

    "I have nothing personal against him, but there comes a time where things are done because they must be done, I have to make decisions, we have to change," he added.

    "The exit is the coach's decision, and also of the player, who knows the situation.

    "The situation will change, I do not know if in 24 or 48 hours, but it will, and it's a good thing for everyone."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.