Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 19 August 2019

Pep Guardiola says Liverpool pressure will bring out best in Manchester City players

With defending Premier League champions up against Cardiff City on Wednesday, manager not losing sight of quadruple bid

Pep Guardiola is preparing his Manchester City side for the business end of the 2018/19 season. Paul Childs / Reuters
Pep Guardiola is preparing his Manchester City side for the business end of the 2018/19 season. Paul Childs / Reuters

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola believes the pressure of needing to win every one of their remaining Premier League matches to finish ahead of Liverpool will boost their quadruple bid.

City, with the League Cup already in the bag, are chasing an unprecedented clean sweep, with the Premier League, Uefa Champions League and FA Cup also in their sights.

They can return to the top of the table if they win their game in hand against struggling Cardiff on Wednesday.

City play an out-of-sorts Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League quarter-finals next week and Brighton in the FA Cup semi-finals on Saturday.

Liverpool, seeking their first English top-flight title since 1990, beat Spurs in a dramatic finish on Sunday to restore their two-point lead.

"For the semi-final and for the Champions League, being in the position in the Premier League where you know if you don't win you are going to lose the Premier League, maybe that's going to help us for the other competitions," Guardiola said.

"If you are 10 points in front you can maybe be a little more selective.

"But now there's no other option, we don't have any other choice, so every game we have to win, if not you drop that competition.

"So that's why sometimes to play with that pressure is nice, it's necessary to get the best out of ourselves."

Guardiola is bidding to add a second Premier League title to go with the three he won in Germany and three in Spain with Bayern Munich and Barcelona.

He said the performance of the players in the routine 2-0 win over relegation-threatened Fulham on Saturday suggested they are in the right place mentally.

"There's no complaints about our mentality, what happened last season and this season again," Guardiola said . "The players are not stupid, about the fact we're trying something so difficult to achieve.

"The way we started to play against Fulham, they show me we want to do it.

"What's next is Cardiff, so we'll prepare well, and go like a machine to win, to play, and try to win. Mentally the players are ready."

Late show demonstrates Liverpool resilience

Liverpool defender Andy Robertson insists the players' belief and resilience means they will never give up on a result until the final whistle.

The Reds scored their third goal to win a league match in the 90th minute or later this season - their second most after 2008/09 when they managed four - to snatch a 2-1 victory over Tottenham and take them back to the top of the table.

Late interventions seem ingrained in the club's DNA as that was their 33rd winning goal in the 90th minute or later in Premier League history, eight more than any other club.

However, few will have the significance of Toby Alderweireld's own goal should Liverpool go on to win the title for the first time since 1990.

One thing is certain and that is the players will not give up in that quest for a long-awaited league championship.

"I think it comes from the whole squad having the right attitude and belief that we are good enough to win any game," Robertson said. "We know we've got the energy, we know we've got the heart to go right until the end in every single game.

"Our fitness levels are the best they should be at this point of the season, so we know we can go right to the end.

"Sometimes you just need that bit of luck and we got it but even when we were going through the tough times in the second half, we still believed we were going to win the game and that's the mentality we have.

"Looking at the league table that's all that matters. Performances don't really matter at this point of the season as long as we win."

Updated: April 1, 2019 04:34 PM

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