Guardiola keeps focus on City

Manchester City
Pep Guardiola claimed his Manchester City side could not have afforded a slip-up after grinding out a hard-fought win at Everton.

Pep Guardiola hopes Manchester City will be in a position to defend the title in the latter stages of the season but isn’t thinking too far ahead.

City trail league leaders Liverpool by nine points and with the Anfield outfit in incredible form it remains to be seen if Guardiola’s side can close the gap.

Liverpool are unbeaten and have 12 wins in 13 Premier League games, including a 3-1 success over the current champions at Anfield earlier this month.

City boss Guardiola knows his side need to be near-perfect if they are to claim a third straight Premier League crown and says he is focusing on ensuring his side win each game as it comes, rather than worrying about Liverpool’s results.

The Champions League is also a big target for Guardiola and he is delighted the Manchester outfit have already booked their place in the last 16.

“First step of the season is to qualify for Champions League [last 16], and we did it,” he told the club website. “Liverpool is doing incredibly well; we know it and can’t expect how many points they will lose.

“We have to focus on ourselves. We have Newcastle, then Burnley and [Manchester] United. That is all we are thinking about.”

City’s season has been hit by injury and they are now without star striker Sergio Aguero for the next few weeks.

He could be able to make a return to action against Arsenal in the middle of next month and should be fit for the Christmas period.

Leroy Sane and Aymeric Laporte are recovering well but won’t be available until the new year, while Oleksandr Zinchenko is closing in on a return.