Premier League: Man City, Tottenham eye crucial points after Champions League epic

Title-chasing Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur, which is fighting to finish in the top four, cannot afford to drop points in Saturday's Premier League meeting.

Published : Apr 19, 2019 18:24 IST , Manchester

Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur must recover from their mental and physical exertions after Wednesday's Champions League epic, with crucial points at stake in Saturday's Premier League fixture at Etihad Stadium.

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino admitted that getting his players to refocus after the euphoria of Wednesday will be difficult.

"It is not easy, it is so difficult to tell them to stop thinking about the result and the possibility to play in the semifinal," the Argentine told reporters in his pre-match press conference.

On the other hand, Pep Guardiola and Man City must pick themselves up after the manner in which they were knocked out. Ahead of the second leg of the Champions League quarterfinal, Guardiola had spoken of this week being decisive with his team playing Spurs twice before the Manchester derby next week.

In a direct tussle with Liverpool for the Premier League title, City cannot afford another slip-up and Tottenham could yet provide its biggest test with five league fixtures left.

The need to score goals to go through in the Champions League forced Guardiola to name three attack-minded midfielders in the line-up, leaving City's back four devoid of the protection that Fernandinho provides when he plays. That could change on Saturday, with the Brazilian potentially replacing David Silva or Ilkay Gundogan from the side that started on Wednesday.  

In his pre-match press conference, Guardiola said, "I think both teams are going to attack, we are going to attack again. It's not easy as they're a top team but we will try," expecting Saturday's league meeting to be potentially as high-scoring as the Champions League fixture.

For Tottenham, Moussa Sissoko went off with a groin injury in the first half of the second leg, leaving Pochettino short of options in midfield. It could mean Fernando Llorente, who scored the decisive goal on Wednesday, starts up front with the in-form Son Heung-Min potentially slotting on the left in the 4-2-3-1.

Team news

For City, Oleksandr Zinchenko, who picked up a hamstring injury against Cardiff City at the start of the month, has been back in training and will be assessed. 

Already without talismanic forward Harry Kane, Spurs is likely to be without Sissoko, Serge Aurier and Harry Winks. Eric Dier, who was out with a hip injury, was back in Tottenham training on Friday and might feature on Saturday.

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