Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has expressed his confidence in his team’s chances of beating Everton on Sunday, despite the hosts’ desperate need for points to avoid relegation.
Guardiola spoke to the press on Friday afternoon ahead of the trip to Goodison Park, where he gave an update on the injury situation, praised his players’ mentality and dismissed any distractions from the upcoming Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid.
Guardiola praised his players’ mentality and focus after they secured their fifth consecutive Premier League title last week with a 2-1 win over Leeds United. He said: “The players have been incredible. They have shown a lot of character and personality. They have been consistent and competitive in every game.”
He added: “We have four games left and we want to finish well. We want to win every game and prepare well for the Champions League. We respect Everton a lot. They are fighting for survival and they have quality players. We know it will be a tough game.”
Guardiola insisted that all thoughts of the Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid have been put to one side ahead of Sunday’s game. He said: “We don’t think about Real Madrid. We think about Everton. We have to be focused on this game because it’s the most important one right now.”
He also warned against Rodri’s claim that City have a “revenge” motive against Real Madrid, after losing to them in the same stage last year. He said: “We don’t play with revenge. We play with respect and ambition. We know how difficult it is to play against Real Madrid. They are a great team with a great history. But we are also a great team and we have our own motivation.”
Guardiola was also asked about this thoughts on the upcoming schedule, as Manchester City have to play on Sunday, while Real Madrid, who play on Saturday, will have an additional day of rest before the second leg.
“I don’t understand it, but I have to adapt,” Guardiola said. “I’m not going to fight anymore. The schedule is what it is.
“I am sure that the Premier wants to help the teams. The problem is the calendar, the number of games there are. I think we cannot play on Saturday because there is Eurovision and there are not enough security forces.
“There are a lot of competitions, there are a lot of matches in all the calendars. That’s the problem, I don’t think the problem is with LaLiga or the Premier League. In Germany or France, they play on Fridays and we have to play when they tell us, that’s not going to change.”