By Andy Hampson, PA
Pep Guardiola is fully expecting Manchester United to keep Manchester City waiting for the Premier League title.
City can be crowned champions for the third time in four years if they beat Crystal Palace on Saturday and second-placed United lose to rivals Liverpool on Sunday.
Asked if he was thinking about potential success this weekend, City manager Guardiola said at a press conference: “Let me travel to London this afternoon, try to wake up good tomorrow and try to win the game.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) April 30, 2021
“The rest we cannot control. It is a tough job. Crystal Palace has always been so difficult for us, I don’t remember an easy game when we play against them.
“United are an extraordinary team. They’ve arrived in their best form of the season in the last two months.
“We need five points to be champions. Tomorrow (Saturday) we have an incredible opportunity to make this next step. Once we win this game, if it happens, we will think about what will happen.
“Now I cannot explain about the feelings in the future because I haven’t experienced it.”
— Ilkay Gündogan (@IlkayGuendogan) April 28, 2021
City go into the lunchtime game on the back of their memorable, but draining, victory over Paris St Germain in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Wednesday.
Guardiola feels it is a tough ask and, because of that, he has no time to think about any issues other than recovery and preparation for the game.
He said: “It is our sixth game in a row away. It is a lot of travel and we are tired in many aspects.
“We play at 12.30, we have no extra time to recover from the Paris game. We have to focus on what we have to do to achieve an important victory to be closer than ever to being champions in the Premier League, a competition we played for for 10 months, day by day. This is my only concern.”
Guardiola feels this approach, when combined with the quality of the squad, has enabled City to enjoy such a successful season in circumstances made difficult by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Spaniard said: “The success of the season so far is (based on) the humanity and quality of players – this is the first thing.
“The second (thing) is don’t think much about what we have in front of our eyes – just the next game. We did that.”