Pep Guardiola backs Man City stars to rise to the occasion in all-or-nothing trophy moments

City are fighting for both the Premier League and Champions League in the final weeks or the season

Richard Jolly
Senior Football Correspondent
Monday 15 April 2024 07:35 BST
(Getty Images)

Pep Guardiola has claimed that Manchester City love the pressure of the life-or-death situations of the end of the season.

City are in a three-team title race with Arsenal and Liverpool and competing for a second consecutive treble, with a Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid and an FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea this week.

And Guardiola senses his side are savouring the high-stakes games, saying: “They like to play the pressure. They like it when you are dead or alive. That doesn’t mean we are going to do it but I am pretty sure we will be there until the end because I know them, I see their faces before in the meetings before games and how they prepare.

“That means we’ll be Premier League champions? No, no. I am not saying that. But we will compete, that is for sure.

“Still we are there. What a privilege. I could not change our position for any other team. What we have done this season, we live for that. Playing for something, not playing for other things, the big trophies. And still we are there. Again, it is so good.”

Guardiola faces a decision whether to recall captain Kyle Walker against Real on Wednesday after the fit-again right-back returned to the bench for Saturday’s 5-1 win over Luton.

The defender was injured in England’s defeat to Brazil last month and Guardiola does not want to run the risk of losing Walker again by rushing him back, though he may want his pace against Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior.

He added: “He feels much better but he was injured, so now we will see in the next days. But he is good, he feels good. Maybe he can help with minutes because it is a ‘final’ but I don’t want to lose him for a long time if he gets injured. He will train a bit more now and we will decide.

“I know how important Kyle is against the players from Real Madrid. But he was not in Madrid and Manu, Josko, John and Ruben [Manuel Akanji, Josko Gvardiol, John Stones and Ruben Dias] played incredibly well. We will see.”

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