Treble-chasing Manchester City faces a hectic schedule over the season’s final few weeks, but manager Pep Guardiola is not concerned about his team spreading themselves too thin, saying his players understand the gravity of every game and that the rewards are great.
“It’s just a question of six games for sure, maybe seven to fight for everything - come on,” Guardiola said Friday on his side’s full-throttle, late-season push.
City is just a point ahead of Arsenal atop the Premier League with a game in hand and will look to extend that lead when it plays Everton on Sunday at Goodison Park. Arsenal also plays on Sunday against visiting Brighton.
“I think definitely (Arsenal) are going to win their three (remaining) games,” Guardiola said on Friday. “I would like them to drop points to be honest but I think they will get nine points.”
City is coming off a tense 1-1 Champions League semi-final draw at Real Madrid on Tuesday, and hosts the defending champion in the second leg on Wednesday at the Etihad Stadium.
Guardiola’s team will also play in the FA Cup final against rival Manchester United on June 3.
“We play for all competitions,” the Spaniard said. “You have to switch and adapt. There are four games left in the Premier League and it’s really important to be there and keep our destiny in our hands.”
When asked how his players bounce back from Tuesday’s physically and mentally draining draw, Guardiola said winning helps. His team has won 10 successive Premier League games.
“If in the previous game you win, mentally your recovery is quicker,” he said. “Always I believe the human being has incredible resources to move forward, keep going. When you believe ‘I am exhausted, I cannot go anymore,’ you can. You can.
“It’s normal you’re tired, but at the same time, if your desire, your mental is in the right position, the human being can have incredible energy.”
Real Madrid plays Getafe in La Liga on Saturday, giving it an extra day to recover before its semi-final second leg against City, although Guardiola refused to bite when asked about unfair scheduling.
“Doesn’t matter,” he said. “So don’t fight anymore about the schedules, it is what is. It’s not frustration, it is what it is.”
Erling Haaland was named the Football Writers’ Association’s men’s player of the year earlier on Friday, and Guardiola had kind words for his goal-scoring machine.
“I think it’s well-deserved, congratulations to him of course,” he said.
The Norway international has scored a record 51 goals in all competitions for City this season, and a Premier League single season record of 35 goals.
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