Even though Manchester City are set to face Manchester United next weekend, Pep Guardiola has insisted that his players can’t focus solely on the derby.
Before facing United, the Blues have to face Fulham followed by Marseille. The Catalan boss has warned his players that they have to ‘play to win’ in both these matches before they start focusing on their arch-rivals in the Premier League.
Even though City have already earned a spot for themselves in the Champions League knockout stage, Pep Guardiola wants his players to win their match against Marseille. He is determined to make his players treat each of their upcoming games with the same level of seriousness. Here’s what Guardiola had to say:
“Of course now it is important but it is not just to prepare absolutely for United and Old Trafford, because against Marseille we’re going to play to win. This is the way big teams create the mentality. It doesn’t matter what competition you play, you have to try to do it, and we did really well all game.”
Guardiola was also asked about the plausible changes in his squad ahead of City’s match against Fulham. He replied by saying that it will all depend on how the players act during the training and on the field.
“It depends if they’re tired, it depends on their behaviour on the pitch, in training sessions, in the locker room, in many situations. We will see.”
When asked about the inclusion of academy players in the Champions League match against Marseille scheduled for next week, Guardiola refrained from making any comment. He believes that this isn’t the right time to answer those questions, and he will see what he needs to do ahead of the match.
“I cannot answer this question. I am sorry. Now is the time to have dinner, rest, tomorrow travel and prepare for Fulham. We will see. I have 20, 21 players and of course they are available.
If they can play, they are going to play, but maybe some players get rest and no selection, and the young academy is going to the bench. I don’t know, right now I cannot answer this question.”
Guardiola wants his team to develop a do-or-die mentality for each of their upcoming matches in order to play like a top team. He is hopeful that this approach will help the squad in the important matches that are scheduled to take place throughout December across all competitions.
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