Despite a hectic fixture schedule that involves three games in eight days and his team playing two fewer Premier League games, Pep Guardiola maintains Manchester City will “won’t drop a competition”
Before their trip to Everton was postponed last Monday, City had played one less game than other teams due to an outbreak of covid among the players and employees of the Manchester club. There is solitude for Kyle Walker, Gabriel Jesus and three unidentified City players.
The schedule for City is filled with the Manchester United Carabao Cup semifinal on Wednesday, the third-round FA Cup match against Birmingham next Sunday and the resumption of the Champions League next month.
On Sunday, City will face Chelsea in the Premier League. One competition too many could be the FA Cup and give Guardiola the chance to rest some of his regular players, but he ruled that option out.
He said, “We will never skip a competition or a game,” We would compliment them if the opponent is stronger, which can happen [meaning we lose].
We go to Stamford Bridge with the problems we have, do our game and try to win.
“I don’t worry too much about what will happen in the Carabao Cup at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
So we’re going to go to London, see who’s going to test negative, and then we’re going to decide the squad.
And day by day, we will determine the squad.
We will definitely be training for the FA Cup, bringing the strongest team together – taking into consideration all the conditions we have.
We may have to use the U23 team players, we’ll see.
But in order to win, the team will play. The people who know me know that will happen.”
Should City win their two remaining games, they would be just one point behind league leaders Liverpool in the standings, although Manchester United are also considered contenders for the title, a fact Guardiola does not hide.
“I’m pretty sure Ole [Gunnar Solskjær, United’s manager] is happier than I am,” said Guardiola, who acknowledges United’s higher position in the table.
“Since I arrived here [in the summer of 2016], I expect them to be there [challenging]: in previous seasons, sometimes that was not possible, especially in the league.
But I’m not too worried about United, I’m so busy with what we have to do day by day to move forward.
“If they’re there, it’s because they deserve it.”