Manchester City faces two crucial finals in their next four games: the Champions Trophy final, which holds immense importance for Pep Guardiola, and the FA Cup final against local rivals Manchester United, a match the Citizens are determined not to lose under any circumstances.
The players, however, are engulfed with fatigue after playing innumerable matches in such a short span. Pep Guardiola is aware of the challenges to come and doesn’t want his players to act complacent during the final stage of this season.
“They have the party after the (Chelsea) game. I don’t know how they feel,” said Guardiola. “They have to be ready to run a lot. The best way to prepare for the final is be ready. The players set the standards, they have to maintain it.
“It’s normal the energy would drop. Arsenal play for just the Premier League, we have FA Cup, Champions League, the energy we spend is massive.
“It’s normal you drop, you have to avoid it or don’t drop much otherwise the two teams (Brighton and Brentford) can hurt us.”
“Play our game, adapt the way we play, arrive to United and Inter in the best condition possible.”
Despite the tension in Guardiola’s words, he can take solace in the depth of his squad. Against Chelsea, he made nine changes, fielding what could be considered a Manchester City B-team, yet they still managed to convincingly defeat Chelsea, highlighting the strength and quality of the squad.
Talking about the importance of his big names to rest, he added, “Everyone can have influence, sometimes five minutes is as important as the rest.”
“Everyone has been important, everyone has been involved in the fact we are where we are.”
Guardiola has to face a resurgent squad in Brighton up next and is wary of the threat that De Zerbi’s squad will possess.
Talking about De Zerbi’s squad, Pep Guardiola said: “Pay attention to what I’m going to say. I’m pretty convinced I’m right in what I’m saying: I think Roberto is one of the most influential managers in the last 20 years.”
“There is no team playing the way they play, it’s unique. I have the feeling when he arrived the impact he would have in the Premier League would be great – I didn’t expect them to do it in this short space of time.”
“If you don’t play at a high level he can do whatever he wants against you. They deserve completely the compliments and the success they have, one of the teams I try to learn a lot from.
“Brighton is the master of passing the ball to the man free, but also when to pass to the free man.”