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Pep Guardiola: 'Manchester City squad not perfect'

27 January, 2018, 20:32 | Author: Lora Ball
  • Guardiola: Quadruple-chasing City will only be judged on trophies

MANCHESTER, England (AP) - Six months into the season, finally there might be a glimmer of hope for Manchester City's frazzled rivals.

Neil Warnock has described this game as Cardiff's "cup final" but with the second best home record in the Championship, he insists they will give it their best shot against a team still persuing a quadruple.

They were the sort of fixtures instantly overlooked by broadcasters because they just weren't interesting. Stones himself has just returned from a lengthy absence and it is perhaps his slow re-adaptation to the rigours of the first team that has persuaded Guardiola to bring forward plans that had been hatched for the summer. He now has now scored 192 City goals.

That left-back area is City's clear weakness, with Mendy not expected to return until April at the earliest.

When Guardiola's predecessor Manuel Pellegrini was confronted with fixture congestion two years ago, he fielded a weakened team in an FA Cup fifth round tie with Chelsea because it fell three days before a Champions League trip to Dynamo Kiev.

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"It's been the easiest week of training", Warnock said.

With an eye on City's last-16 matchup in the Champions League, Guardiola added: "Maybe it will be good for us, for the Champions League against Basel, to learn that you have to play for 90 minutes and anything can happen".

Cardiff have no new injury problems.

Guardiola is facing an increasingly tough task in managing City's progress through four competitions.

Aguero doubled the lead on the night four minutes after the break with a pin-point finish from De Bruyne's flawless pass to end a lethal counter attack from the visitors.

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"I'm not a coach for the tackles", Guardiola said after Manchester City's 4-2 loss at Leicester in December 2016, a remark used by some critics to underline misgivings at his ability to set up a defense.

Interestingly, Cardiff City secured their first ever Premier League victory, beating Man City 3-2 in their first home match back in the top flight in 2013. He bagged a brace against Mansfield in the previous round and is supported by Kenneth Zohore (four goals), Daniel Ward (four), Nathaniel Mendez-Laing (four) and Omar Bogle, who has scored three times this season. It's a team on top form.

Guardiola explained then that it was the Belgian's work ethic, chasing around tirelessly like "a player in the Conference (minor) league" as much as his sheer brilliance on the ball that was so striking.

That hints at the level to which City have dominated opponents this term, also topping the table in terms of possession (66/4%), shots on target (7.3 per game) and successful take-ons (13.2 per game).

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