EPL

Guardiola claims City 'won't be in Europe' if they prioritise cup competitions

By Sports Desk December 27, 2019

Pep Guardiola is adamant Manchester City will not prioritise cup competitions over the Premier League for the rest of the season because he worries about them missing out on European places.

City are 14 points behind league leaders Liverpool thanks to Friday's 3-2 defeat at Wolves, meaning their title defence looks beyond Guardiola's men.

Although Ederson's early red card left City in a precious position at Molineux, they found themselves two to the good just after the interval thanks to a pair of Raheem Sterling goals.

But Adama Traore pulled one back soon after and he then played a vital role in an 82nd-minute equaliser, making the most of Benjamin Mendy's woeful error to set up Raul Jimenez.

The Mexican teed up Matt Doherty late on and he secured the win that leaves City well adrift of Liverpool, who also have a game in hand.

But giving up on the Premier League is a dangerous game Guardiola is unwilling to play.

"We can't give up otherwise we won't be in Europe," Guardiola told reporters.

"I never prioritise competitions. Now we're back at home, playing another game in less than 40 hours [at home to Sheffield United]. We have to prepare, see how they are and how they feel.

"Our response is always good; we are used to being top and now we are fighting."

Friday's result meant Manchester City were unable to move back up to second above Leicester City, who lost 4-0 to Liverpool on Boxing Day.

And Guardiola reiterated that they are now City's target, acknowledging it is not realistic to continue aiming for Liverpool's lofty perch.

"We have to move on," he said. "We played the first season and we were there [near the top] all the time, in some situations we are far away. We have to catch the second one and see where we are.

"It's unrealistic to think about Liverpool, we think about Leicester. We have the chance to recover second, I know the quality of the team, but that's the situation."

Related items

  • Arteta: No question Manchester City deserve to be in Champions League Arteta: No question Manchester City deserve to be in Champions League

    Mikel Arteta is glad his former club Manchester City will be able to compete in the Champions League.

    Arsenal boss Arteta, who served as Pep Guardiola's number two at the Etihad Stadium until last December, was speaking a day after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) quashed City's two-season ban from UEFA competitions.

    CAS found City did not disguise equity funding as sponsorship contributions and stated the allegations brought by UEFA were either "not established" or "time-barred" under the Financial Fair Play regulations put in place by European football's governing body.

    City were fined €10million – down from €30m – for failing to co-operate with UEFA's investigation.

    The full written reasons for the verdict will be published by CAS over the coming days, but it has already garnered a mixed response, with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp claiming the outcome amounted to "not a good day for football".

    By contrast, Arteta, whose Arsenal side host the freshly crowned Premier League champions on Wednesday, feels the ruling serves as a moment of vindication for his old employers, who were placed under investigation by UEFA following the Football Leaks revelations of November 2018.

    "There is no question about what happened," Arteta told a pre-match news conference.

    "They completely deserve to be in [the] Champions League because what they've done on the pitch is unquestionable and the regulators have looked at it and have decided that they haven't done anything wrong.

    "So you have the two aspects that are really clear and transparent and they're going to be in Champions League, because they deserve [it] for what they do on the pitch and what they do outside the pitch."

    Arsenal are looking to bounce back from a sapping 2-1 north London derby loss at Tottenham, where their capacity to undermine promising positions again reared its head.

    Arteta is full of admiration for the job Klopp has undertaken at Liverpool, and noted similarities between the situation the former Borussia Dortmund coach took on when he succeeded Brendan Rodgers in 2015 and his own inheritance at Emirates Stadium.

    “What they’ve done is phenomenal," he said. "It took them some time to rebuild the club and a game model that suited the coach, and then they started to recruit a specificity in every position which completely changed the club.

    "Many decisions have to be right. How much connection you have to create with your fans to create the full package, and then it’s about the football.

    "Certainly it’s something to look at but we have to do it our way with our resources. We are heading to be the best, that is my objective."

    A medical update on Arsenal's website suggested Mesut Ozil might be in contention to feature on Merseyside, but Arteta stated the wider circumstances around the former Germany international's first-team exile are unchanged.

    "At the moment the situation remains the same," he said, when asked whether Ozil would play again this season.

  • Klopp on Man City reprieve at CAS: Not a good day for football Klopp on Man City reprieve at CAS: Not a good day for football

    Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp feels Manchester City getting their Champions League ban overturned on Monday was not a good day for football.

    "I don't think it was a good day for football yesterday, to be honest," he told reporters ahead of his side's match against Arsenal on Wednesday.

    "FFP is a good idea. It is there for protecting teams and the competition, so that nobody overspends and have to make sure the money they want to spend is based on the right sources."

  • Matic hopes happy Pogba will stay at Man Utd 'for a long time' Matic hopes happy Pogba will stay at Man Utd 'for a long time'

    Nemanja Matic is optimistic Paul Pogba will remain with Manchester United "for a long time".

    The Serbian has formed an impressive midfield trio with Pogba and Bruno Fernandes since the Premier League's resumption, helping United extend their unbeaten run to 18 matches in all competitions.

    Pogba's future at United has long been the subject of intense speculation, with comments from his agent Mino Raiola causing controversy earlier in a 2019-20 season where he struggled with injury.

    But the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the club's upturn in form since the World Cup winner returned to the pitch to join new signing Fernandes have led to increased hopes he will stay.

    Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has expressed confidence that Pogba – who is contracted until 2021 with the option for a further year – would sign a new deal and Matic thinks his team-mate is enjoying life at the club.

    "I think at the moment he is happy," Matic, who himself signed fresh terms with United this month, said to Stats Perform News.

    "When you are injured and outside of the pitch people will always talk and rumours will always be around him, but he can do anything. 

    "As soon as he came back to training with us and playing I think he has shown that he is happy to play football and he is a great guy. 

    "I think for me it is very important that Paul stays because that gives us more quality. Also, with his personality, he brings a lot to the team. 

    "Of course, you never know what is going to happen in life but I see him happy at the moment.

    "I wish for him to stay, I wish for the team. It is good he is a great guy for the group there is always fun around him. I will be happy to see him for a long time at Manchester United."

    Pogba said this week United felt like "a proper team" again and he does not think they can be stopped if they continue on their current path.

    He also praised the balance of the starting XI under Solskjaer and Matic feels the arrival of Fernandes is what has helped get the best out of Pogba.

    Matic added: "With him and Bruno, I think that Paul can now, in my opinion, do what is his job.

    "He is the player and kind of midfielder that can play box to box, he is not only an attacking midfielder like people were thinking. 

    "He is a box to box player because he is strong, he can run, he can shoot, he can also defend very well, he can read the headers. 

    "So now with Bruno, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, when they play in front of him, then in my opinion he can do the best.

    "He is a player for everything, so I don't think he is a typical playmaker to be behind the strikers, but that player like a number eight, box to box.

    "For me he is one of the best players in the world. So, I expect him next season to be even better, but what we saw in the few games of him [after the restart] he was absolutely fantastic, a proper player."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.