Football: Guardiola prioritising FA Cup, Champions League return

Guardiola talks to his players during a break in City's match against Burnley on June 22, 2020. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

LONDON (AFP) - Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said his priority is Sunday's FA Cup quarter-final at Newcastle rather than postponing Liverpool's coronation as Premier League champions.

Should Liverpool beat Crystal Palace on Wednesday, City will need to beat Chelsea when they travel to Stamford Bridge 24 hours later to keep the title race alive.

The top two then clash in their next league game on July 2.

However, with a 20-point gap between the runaway leaders and City, Guardiola is focused on securing more silverware in the FA Cup and the Champions League come August.

City lead Real Madrid 2-1 from the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie and will be one of the favourites to secure a first ever European crown should they progress to the quarter-finals, which will be held as one-off games in Lisbon.

"We have to see day-by-day, game-by-game to arrive in the two incredibly important games we have in the next period, which are Newcastle next Sunday and especially Madrid," said Guardiola on Wednesday (June 24).

City have made an impressive return to Premier League action with comprehensive victories over Arsenal and Burnley over the past week, despite Guardiola making eight changes between the games.

"Still the team is not fit for players to play 90 minutes every three days. This is not going to happen," added Guardiola.

"We cannot deny we have one eye in the Newcastle game. It is a final for us."

City have already suffered one significant injury setback since the return as Sergio Aguero has undergone surgery on a knee problem in Barcelona.

The Argentine is expected to at least miss the rest of the domestic season, but could return to play a part in the Champions League.

City's second leg against Madrid is due to take place on August 7 or 8.

"Everything went well, and I'll soon begin recovery," Aguero tweeted.

"A big thanks to Dr (Ramon) Cugat and his team - and to all of you for your support."

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