Tuesday 11 December 2018

Pep Guardiola not interested in league table as Man City head to Newcastle

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has switched his attention to Newcastle
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has switched his attention to Newcastle

Pep Guardiola has told Manchester City to forget about the table ahead of Wednesday's trip to Newcastle.

Unbeaten City's outstanding Premier League season continued as they chalked up a record-extending 17th successive victory by thrashing Bournemouth 4-0 on Saturday.

That left them with a 13-point lead at the top of the table at the season's halfway point and with a remarkable 60 goals to their name.

But manager Guardiola continues to warn against complacency and is wary of the Magpies, who are the only team City are yet to face in the league this season.

He said: "Do what we have done until now - that is what we have to do, and focus on Newcastle.

"Focus on what we have to do on the pitch - defensively, offensively, individually, as a group.

"Forget a bit about the schedule and the table, and focus on what we have to do. That is the best way."

City reached the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup last week and are already through to the last 16 of the Champions League.

Their form suggests this could be a phenomenal campaign but, should they maintain this trajectory, the problem of fixture congestion will undoubtedly rear its head.

That means squad rotation potentially coming into play more than it has to date, but Guardiola is confident he has enough tools at his disposal to plot a way forward.

He said: "Fatigue I don't think (will be a problem). It may happen but we have a good enough squad.

"Gabriel (Jesus) didn't play (on Saturday) but he played 120 minutes at Leicester and is the best fighter in the high pressing I have ever seen in my life. He helps us a lot with that intensity.

"Bernardo (Silva) played an amazing 30 minutes, Danilo helped us, (Ilkay) Gundogan as well and we have Yaya (Toure). Last game (Oleksandr) Zinchenko was man of the match and Saturday was not in the squad.

"Of course we are going to rotate in this period. Everybody has played in the past and everyone is going to play in the future."

Guardiola revealed after Saturday's 4-0 win over Bournemouth that we would be spending a considerable amount of time over Christmas preparing for Newcastle.

He said: "I could not see them (until now). Now, these two days, three days, in Christmas time I am going to sit down with my staff, laptops, and am going to try to discover what they do and how to keep our pace and intensity with and without the ball. That is our target."

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