Pep Guardiola dismisses Man City pressure problem as Liverpool handed three chances to go top
Pep Guardiola has no concerns about his players dealing with the pressure of an intense race for the Premier League and Champions League crowns. The Blues face a tricky away game at Leeds on Saturday, sandwiched between two huge semi-final clashes with Real Madrid.
But Guardiola, himself a veteran of multiple trophy hunts, says he has no worries about his players and does not feel the need to offer them any advice or treat them any differently to the rest of the season. City are just one point ahead of Liverpool in the league and will have been knocked off top spot by the time they play Leeds if Liverpool avoid defeat at Newcastle in the lunchtime kick-off.
That will be the pattern in the next three rounds of Premier League fixtures, with Liverpool kicking off before City, and so able to pile the pressure on their rivals. But Guardiola says his squad has dealt with such situations before – not least in 2019, when they held off a strong Liverpool finish to the season by winning their last 14 games of the campaign to secure back-to-back titles.
And he says they are giving off signs that they are intent on ensuring they retain the league trophy by winning their remaining five games, and going one better in the Champions League this season, by winning it.
“Sometimes it looks like only the managers know what we are playing for – but the players know. They know better than me,” he said. “They’ve played for 11 months to arrive here. They know it, so it’s not necessary (to give them any pep talks).
“What I want in this period is to arrive as fresh as possible in minds, souls, legs. This is the most important thing. We have to remember a few things, adjust a few things depending on what the opponents do and be fresh. Train today, go home with the family, good lunch, good dinner. Then Leeds and try to win the game.”
And when asked about what he can do to ease the pressure on his players, he said: “They have been here many times. These players, I know them.”