By Andy Hampson, PA
Pep Guardiola is confident his shattered Manchester City players will quickly refocus on their season’s remaining challenge – to defend their Premier League title.
City’s hopes of winning the Champions League for the first time were dashed for another year as they succumbed to a dramatic late Real Madrid fightback at the Bernabeu Stadium in midweek.
There is little time to dwell on the devastating loss as the domestic title race resumes with the visit of Newcastle on Sunday.
City have been in this situation before, having been knocked out of the European competition in agonising fashion by Tottenham three years ago.
In that instance they played Spurs again just three days later and won.
Yet so bullish is Guardiola about his team’s ability to bounce back that he does not even feel he needs to remind them of that.
“I’ve said many times we cannot compare with what happened in the past,” said Guardiola, who knows four more wins will secure a fourth Premier League crown in five years regardless of Liverpool’s results.
“It’s not necessary to remember what happened in the past. We’ll recover.
“We are better than yesterday and tomorrow will be better than today.
“It’s football, accept it. We have a big challenge over the next two weeks – especially this week – where we have the Premier League season in our hands.”
City have doubts over the fitness of defenders Kyle Walker and John Stones for the Magpies clash at the Etihad Stadium.
Walker, having missed the five previous games, was forced off with further ankle problems after 72 minutes on Wednesday.
Stones has sat out the last two matches after a recurrence of thigh trouble in the semi-final first leg against Real the previous week.