Football: Forget unbeaten season - Pep

Manchester City will be counting on striker Gabriel Jesus to deliver the goals against West Brom.
Manchester City will be counting on striker Gabriel Jesus to deliver the goals against West Brom.PHOTO: REUTERS

Despite club-record 12th straight win, City boss says they have to take it game by game

LONDON • Even as West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Pulis hailed Manchester City as the " best team in Europe", Pep Guardiola told everyone to forget about the possibility of an unbeaten season.

City recorded a club-record 12th consecutive victory after a penalty shoot-out win over second-tier club Wolverhampton Wanderers in the League Cup on Tuesday.

"We started the same way this year as last season," said Guardiola, whose side won 10 straight games to start their last campaign.

"Last Tuesday, we realised how difficult it is to win games," he added of the last-16 tie that was 0-0 after extra time. "We have to be calm and focused.

"We have to take it game by game and we'll analyse what happens at the end of the season."

When pressed about going through this season without losing, the Spaniard replied: "I answered that in the last press conference. Forget about it."



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The City manager is unlikely to take any chances with midfielder Ilkay Gundogan against West Brom today. Skipper Vincent Kompany (calf) and fellow defender Benjamin Mendy (knee) are both longer term absentees. But Guardiola revealed that Kompany could be back in training next week.

West Brom have not won a league game since the middle of August, leaving them two points above the relegation places ahead of the league leaders' visit.

"Playing the best team in Europe at the Hawthorns is something to relish," Pulis told reporters.

"People coming to the stadium will watch a very, very good team. The lads should go out there and give it a really good go. We know what we're up against.

"They're one of those teams I think are really special."

Albion will adapt their game, he added, without offering any clues as to how they hoped to cope.

"We'll approach it a little bit different to normal. They've been special this year," Pulis added.

Albion have a number of injury problems, with the manager confirming that defender Craig Dawson is out for "a couple of months".

There has also been a new setback for James Morrison, who has been missing with an Achilles problem for the past month.

City midfielder Yaya Toure hopes the Baggies will not erect a defensive brick wall today.

"I hope in the next game it's much easier because when you give teams so many chances to believe and be in the game, it's so hard and so difficult," said Toure.

City were indebted to goalkeeper Claudio Bravo against Wolves after he saved two spot-kicks during a 4-1 victory in the shoot-out.

"It's so difficult when teams defend en masse. The striker stays with the holding midfielder, it's unbelievable," added Toure.



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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 28, 2017, with the headline 'Forget unbeaten season: PEP'. Print Edition | Subscribe