Wednesday 14 November 2018

Pep Guardiola to pick team for Manchester derby with Champions League in mind

City welcome Liverpool next week needing to overturn a three-goal deficit.

Pep Guardiola must turn his attention to facing Manchester United
Pep Guardiola must turn his attention to facing Manchester United

By Andy Hampson, Press Association Sport

Pep Guardiola admits he will have “one eye” on Manchester City’s return clash with Liverpool as they take on Manchester United on Saturday.

The runaway Premier League leaders can clinch the title with victory over their fiercest rivals but the derby clash comes just three days before the second leg of City’s Champions League quarter-final.

City were beaten 3-0 at Anfield in the first leg on Wednesday and face an uphill task to turn the situation around.

But Guardiola has not given up hope and, even though this weekend’s clash at the Etihad Stadium is of huge significance, Liverpool remain in his thoughts.

Guardiola said: “It will be so difficult next Tuesday but we are going to try. We will have our chance to be in the game and we will try to go through.

“But what has happened has happened and now tomorrow is so important a game. It is a different competition.

“We are going to pick the team to win the game tomorrow, there is no doubt about that, but of course we have one eye on Tuesday.”

Guardiola insists his players will be fully focused on the United encounter. City are 16 points clear at the top of the table and victory will see them become the earliest winners of a Premier League title with six games to spare.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Guardiola said: “We are going to try to play in the same way as we played all the season.

“We are going to focus on this game. After the game – winning, drawing or losing – we are going to focus immediately on Tuesday.

“Liverpool are almost qualified for the semi-finals but we have 90 minutes. The door is almost closed but a little bit open. Maybe there is some space to get in.

“But that is going to happen after the game tomorrow.”

Guardiola hopes supporters will play their part in both matches.

He said: “We’d like to feel that, at home, people can come fill the stadium tomorrow and next Tuesday and support the guys.

“We need their support because we are so tired. United have rested all week. The game at Anfield was so tough. When the bad moments happen we want to feel our supporters are there.”

Because of the proximity of the derby to Tuesday’s game, City are to make a plea to supporters not to enter the field after the game.

The club do not want the pitch damaged by excessive celebrations ahead of the Liverpool game.

Guardiola, who will hope to have Sergio Aguero back after a knee injury, said: “I’m not going to answer any questions about if we win and celebrations on the pitch. I am focused on the game we have to play.

“But hopefully the people are going to be correct, we just play a game and they enjoy it like they have all season.”

Press Association

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