Football

It’s crunch time for Man City, admits Pep Guardiola

Matches against Spurs and Man United in next 7 days will define their season

  • Tottenham lead 1-0 after first leg

Pep Guardiola admits Manchester City's bid for an unprecedented Quadruple will be defined by their Champions League showdown with Tottenham Hotspur tomorrow morning (Singapore time) and their following two English Premier League games.

Guardiola's side are in contention to win all four major trophies after lifting the League Cup, reaching the FA Cup final and staying in touch with EPL leaders Liverpool.

 QUARTER-FINAL, 2ND LEG
MAN CITY TOTTENHAM

City's next obstacle on the road to football immortality comes in the Champions League quarter-final, second leg against Tottenham as they bid to overturn a 1-0 deficit at the Etihad Stadium.

Even if they beat Spurs to make the semi-finals, there will be no time for City to rest on their laurels as they face the London side again in the EPL on Saturday before heading to Manchester United the following Wednesday.

With Liverpool two points clear of City, who have a game in hand, Guardiola acknowledged the next seven days will decide whether his team take their Quadruple chase into the final days of the season.

"Definitely. If we don't win these games, we will be out of two competitions. I've had this feeling for weeks," Guardiola said yesterday.

"Last season in this period, we were already champions. This season, we have incredible opponents in the Premier League with Liverpool. Both teams deserve to be champions, but just one is going to get it.

"After what we did last season, I'm surprised that we have 83 points right now. The target is 98, without that we will not be champions.

"Tottenham are incredible and we don't have rest. We played nine, 10 or 11 games more than Liverpool. Even with that, I like this challenge."

Having won the EPL in record-breaking fashion last season, Guardiola could have been forgiven for focusing on Europe this term as he looks to win the Champions League for the third time as a boss - and the first since his 2011 triumph with Barcelona.

But the EPL remains his priority, said Guardiola, who added that Fernandinho has returned to training after missing Sunday's 3-1 win over Crystal Palace .

Guardiola, who cut a tetchy figure for much of his press conference, refused to accept he has underachieved in Europe's elite club competition.

"The Champions League is tough. We fail all the time. Sorry guys, I'm a failure!" he said in an outburst laced with sarcasm.

"Not winning the Champions League in Bayern Munich was a big failure. What can I say?

"I didn't come here to win the Champions League, honestly. I came here to play the way we played the last 20 months.

"The Premier League is the most important title, to be there every three days competing."

Guardiola's grumpy mood included a rant at the EPL for giving Spurs more time to rest and prepare before both legs.

"They had six days to prepare the first game, we had two. Now they played Saturday, we played Sunday," Guardiola said.

"I don't know why the Premier League don't put the games at 12.30 on Saturday." - AFP

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