Guardiola won't ask for favour from Man Utd in chase to catch 'incredible' Arsenal

AFP , Friday 10 May 2024

Pep Guardiola won't ask for a favour from Manchester United this weekend as the Manchester City manager tries to overhaul "incredible" Arsenal in the Premier League title race.

Manchester City's head coach Pep Guardiola gestures during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England, Saturday, May 4, 2024. Photo: AP


City boss Guardiola takes his side to Fulham on Saturday knowing a victory would move them two points clear of leaders Arsenal.

But the Gunners will reclaim top spot if they win at Manchester United on Sunday, putting City fans in the unusual position of having to support their local rivals.

Asked if he would be cheering on United when Arsenal visit Old Trafford, Guardiola insisted the only thing he is worried about is taking three points from the trip to Craven Cottage.

"I'm a City fan, try to beat Fulham, this is all I'm concerned about," Guardiola told reporters on Friday.

City are chasing an unprecedented fourth successive Premier League title and will lift the trophy if they win their last three games against Fulham, Tottenham and West Ham.

But they have been pushed to the brink by Arsenal this season in a battle that reminds Guardiola of his team's title fights with Liverpool.

Jurgen Klopp's men twice finished runners-up to City and became the only team to stop them winning the title in the last six seasons in 2020.

Guardiola ranks Arsenal alongside Liverpool in terms of the quality of opposition posed to City during his reign at the Etihad.

"The same level as Liverpool in the last years. Both teams are incredible and have been incredible," he said.

'Extraordinary Rodri'

If City are to finish the season as champions yet again, they are likely to need three more influential performances from Rodri, the Spain midfielder who was snubbed in the Premier League Player of the Year award nominations this week.

Guardiola hailed Rodri's contribution but refused to condemn the decision to ignore him in the awards.

"The nominees deserve it. The winner of the trophy deserves it, the list is huge so everyone is important," he said.

"Rodri knows what we think about the importance of him and the extraordinary player he is. He should not be worrying about that."

City striker Erling Haaland was branded a "spoilt brat" by former Manchester United captain Roy Keane for his frustrated reaction to being substituted after scoring four goals in last weekend's 5-1 rout of Wolves.

But Guardiola insisted there was nothing wrong with Haaland's demeanour.

"He loves to score, like all the strikers," he said. "But his contributions since he arrived have been magnificent, not just the numbers but other things."

City will take a 20-game unbeaten league run to Fulham, with six successive victories pushing them closer to the title.

Asked if he thought social media footage of Fulham players flying kites during training suggested they would face an unfocused team, Guardiola said: "Are you sure? I didn't meet one player or one manager that wasn't focused to win when the game started.

"They will do everything to beat us, like we will do everything to beat them."

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