Man City focused on what they can control in title race says Guardiola



Sat, 06 Apr 2024 - 10:42 GMT


Sat, 06 Apr 2024 - 10:42 GMT

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola before the match REUTERS/Molly Darlington/File Photo

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola before the match REUTERS/Molly Darlington/File Photo

(Reuters) - Manchester City head into Saturday's Premier League clash at Crystal Palace three points off top spot but boss Pep Guardiola said his side's total focus remained on winning their last eight games rather than waiting for their rivals to slip up.


City are third in the standings with 67 points, a point behind second-placed Arsenal and three adrift of leaders Liverpool. They visit a Palace side who are 14th.


City's remaining league fixtures include promoted Luton Town, Tottenham Hotspur, Brighton & Hove Albion, Nottingham Forest, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Fulham and West Ham United.


"The quality of the opponents is what it is," Guardiola told reporters on Friday. "That's why we have to keep going, and then at the end we'll realise the team was there, that's for sure.


"If we don't do our job, it doesn't solve the problem. We have to win our last eight games left and wait. If it happens, it's better, but we cannot control it.


"We control our destiny in our own games, that's all."


Erling Haaland, the league's top scorer this season with 18 goals, and playmaker Kevin De Bruyne were left out of the side in the 4-1 home win against Aston Villa on Wednesday, and Guardiola said that he had not yet decided whether they would make a return to the starting lineup against Palace.


"I don't know yet. Playing 12.30 and just won two days ago, I have to think," the Spaniard said.


"(I will judge) the faces of the players, the players who recover quicker than the other ones. Many aspects. We have to talk with the doctors, the physios, my staff and we will decide tonight or tomorrow early morning."


Goalkeeper Ederson, who came off in City's 1-1 draw with Liverpool on March 10 after a challenge on Darwin Nunez, is much better and could be on the team list, Guardiola added. But defenders Kyle Walker and Nathan Ake remain out with injuries.


The reigning champions gave up a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 against Palace in December's reverse fixture, with Michael Olise scoring a stoppage-time penalty. Guardiola said facing the south London side is always a difficult challenge.


"Palace always have been tough," he said. "(New manager Oliver) Glasner is doing a really good job.


"The quality is there with (Eberechi) Eze, (Jordan) Ayew and (Jean-Philippe) Mateta and the other players. They're strong defensively. The physicality always is there."



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