Guardiola thinking about beating Newcastle, not Premier League title

Manchester City has work to do in the Premier League title race being placed third in the points table, but Pep Guardiola is not looking too far ahead.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola   -  Getty Images

Pep Guardiola will not allow his focus to drift towards the bigger picture of the Premier League title race as Manchester City chases victory at Newcastle United.

The defending champion finds itself third after 13 matches, already nine points behind leader Liverpool, which defeated Guardiola's men at Anfield this month.

City kicks off the latest weekend of Premier League action against Newcastle on Saturday, giving it a chance to leapfrog second-placed Leicester City - albeit possibly only temporarily.

That will be Guardiola's aim at St James' Park, with the former Barcelona manager insisting he does not like to think about the season as a whole.

"I'm not thinking about how many games we have to win - I know we cannot lose games," he told a news conference.

"I'm not thinking honestly about winning the Premier League right now. I never thought about it, even in the years we won.

"To win the Premier League, we have to be close to Leicester, first of all, and then to Liverpool.

"The target, when you play games in different competitions every three days, is the next one. You choose the best players possible for this specific game and try to win."

City came unstuck at Newcastle last season, having had to settle for a slightly nervy win during the previous campaign.

Guardiola added: "The last two seasons, we won 1-0 and, last season, we lost 2-1. Newcastle away is always one of the nicest environments and stadiums in England.

"Obviously, it's a tough test, but next Tuesday we have Burnley and then the derby against [Manchester] United, so we know the situation we are in.

"We trained really good today [Friday]. I saw the team were ready. We fly this afternoon and then tomorrow, 12.30, we try to do a good game."

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