FA Cup

Quadruple talk is fantasy: Guardiola

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola looks on during the match between Manchester City and Burnley at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, Britain, on Jan 26, 2019.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola looks on during the match between Manchester City and Burnley at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, Britain, on Jan 26, 2019.PHOTO: REUTERS

City boss completely focused on FA Cup tie at hand, promises 'strong team' against Burnley

LONDON • Pep Guardiola is not prepared to entertain any "fantasy" talk of an unprecedented quadruple despite Manchester City being the only English team still in the hunt for four trophies.

His men have booked their place in the League Cup final, where they will meet Chelsea on Feb 24, while they sit four points behind leaders Liverpool in the race for the Premier League title.

They will also return to Champions League action next month with a favourable last-16 draw against German Bundesliga side Schalke.

Today, City play Burnley at the Etihad Stadium in the FA Cup fourth round - the only domestic competition Guardiola has yet to win since taking over in 2016.

But, while their impressive form over the first half of the campaign has City supporters dreaming of success on a level yet to be achieved in English football, the manager was in no mood to entertain such prospects at his pre-match press conference yesterday.

The Spaniard told reporters: "We are able to try to win tomorrow. That is all I can assure you. Anything else is fantasy.

"Always we try to have a strong team. The fact it is against a Premier League (team) like Burnley, we are going to play with the best team to win the game, we believe."

  • 4

    Average goals per game Manchester City have netted in their last seven FA Cup matches in the third and fourth rounds.

  • ENGLISH FA CUP 4TH RD

  • SELECTED FIXTURES

  • YESTERDAY

    Arsenal v Man United, Late kick-off

  • TODAY

    Accrington v Derby, Ch111, 8.30pm

    Man City v Burnley, Ch111, 11pm

    Newcastle v Watford, Ch112, 11pm

    Shrewsbury v Wolves, Ch113, 11pm

    Millwall v Everton, Ch111, tomorrow, 1.30am

  • TOMORROW

    Crystal Palace v Tottenham, Ch111, 11.55pm

    Chelsea v Sheffield Wednesday, Ch111, Monday, 2am

    All on Singtel TV

The 48-year-old, whose side were stunned by Wigan in the fifth round of the FA Cup last season, will not be taking any risks against Sean Dyche's men.

Despite fielding a host of youth-team players, including Philippe Sandler, Eric Garcia and Ian Poveda, in their midweek League Cup win over Burton Albion, Guardiola categorically ruled against using them for the second successive game.

Revealing "tomorrow, there will be no players from the academy", he said: "They have to be prepared just in case.

"But we now have everyone fit except Vinny (Kompany), everyone can play."

One senior player who did feature at the Pirelli Stadium was defender Benjamin Mendy, who came off the bench after two months out with a knee injury, and Guardiola confirmed that he was in line to play against the Clarets.

He also responded to the imminent sacking of his former player at Barcelona, Thierry Henry, who has been suspended by Monaco after a dismal three-month spell in charge of the French Ligue One club, claiming it was "not my business".

Guardiola added: "I don't understand it, but I'm not there when people take decisions.

"I know him well and I'm so sorry for him. He is an exceptional person."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

MAN CITY V BURNLEY

Singtel TV Ch111, 11pm

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 26, 2019, with the headline 'Quadruple talk is fantasy: Guardiola'. Print Edition | Subscribe