Don't take lowly Wigan lightly, Pep tells players

David Silva's return from injury is heartening news for Pep Guardiola's planning for the FA Cup fifth-round meeting with Wigan today.
David Silva's return from injury is heartening news for Pep Guardiola's planning for the FA Cup fifth-round meeting with Wigan today.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has warned his side to focus on today's FA Cup fifth-round tie at Wigan even though the League Cup final takes place six days later.

City can deliver the first trophy of Guardiola's reign on Sunday against Arsenal at Wembley.

But the Spaniard has warned against complacency at League One promotion chasers Wigan, who have beaten two Premier League sides in Bournemouth and West Ham to get to this stage.

"Of course I am concerned because I saw the game against Bournemouth," Guardiola said.

"Bournemouth are one of the teams I like to watch the most in the Premier League and Wigan were able to beat them.

"I think in the FA Cup, there are a lot of surprises, not just this season or previous seasons but, all throughout history, you always have these kind of situations happening.

"It would be good for my players not to think too much of the final next Sunday."

Wigan were relegated from the Premier League four days after upsetting City to win the FA Cup with a Ben Watson goal in 2013.

And City's revenge mission has been boosted by the return of Leroy Sane, David Silva and Fabian Delph. Forward Gabriel Jesus is also back in training.

"Ten days ago, we had seven injured but now most have recovered - Silva and Delph and other players - so of course we are going to take it seriously," added Guardiola.

The past five years have been testing for Wigan, with two relegations and a promotion.

Paul Cook's side have led League One for most of the season, but ceded first place to Shrewsbury after successive defeats by Southend and Blackpool.

Wigan do pose an attacking threat, though, thanks to former Manchester United forward Nick Powell and Northern Ireland international Will Grigg, who have 27 goals between them this season.

It was Grigg who scored twice as West Ham were beaten 2-0 in the fourth round.

"Football has a funny way of sending out shock results and our belief on Monday night must be that we can win the game," said Cook.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 19, 2018, with the headline 'Don't take lowly Wigan lightly, Pep tells players'. Print Edition | Subscribe