Football

Guardiola wary of 'complicated' end to season

Manchester City host Crystal Palace tonight looking to consolidate their top-four position, and in the knowledge that four wins from their remaining four Premier League games will secure their place in next season's Champions League.

City fans will take heart from a relatively easy end to the season, with Leicester City, West Bromwich Albion and Watford their other three opponents.

But City manager Pep Guardiola yesterday warned that the race to the finish line is not as straightforward as it seems.

He said: "It is still in our hands, if we are able to win the four games, like it is so complicated, but we did it once in the beginning of the season.

"We were not able to win four games in a row since.

"I know how tough Crystal Palace are. They are able to win Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool and Leicester the last champions and West Bromwich Albion, so it is complicated."

At the press conference, Guardiola also confirmed that Sergio Aguero, John Stones and Claudio Bravo will not be available for selection against Palace, with the Chilean goalkeeper out of the rest of the campaign. David Silva remains a doubt.

But, whatever the next few weeks bring for City, captain Vincent Kompany believes the club are heading in the right direction.

"Finish strongly now and we give ourselves something to look forward to next season because you want to be in four competitions," he said.

"Sometimes exceptional seasons are built on seasons like this.

"The mood's not great because we are at that time in the season where we need to win games and it didn't happen on Sunday (at Boro).

"Now it's a case of having to finish the last four games really strongly."

- WIRE SERVICES

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