Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Manchester City will now focus on catching Liverpool - Pep Guardiola


Pep Guardiola has told his Manchester City side to turn their attention to whittling away Liverpool's lead at the top of the Premier League after securing Champions League qualification.

A 1-1 draw with Shakhtar Donetsk at the Eithad Stadium on Tuesday night was enough to win Group C with a game to spare. And while Liverpool are involved in a battle with Napoli to top Group E -- they play each other at Anfield on Wednesday -- Guardiola said there was a chance to close the gap.

"It is time to focus on the Premier League," Guardiola told a news conference. "Maybe the next draw all the four English clubs will be there. That'll be good for us. We're in the next stage and that's the most important thing when you start the group."

It is the seventh year in a row City have qualified for the knockout rounds and have already been made favourites to win this year's competition despite failing to make it past the quarterfinals in each of the last three seasons.

"[Seven times in a row] is a lot," said Guardiola.

"Seven years in a row means you have to qualify seven times and being there.

"Now we'll see which conditions we arrive here [in the last 16]. It's about the details."

After a lacklustre first-half performance, Ilkay Gundogan got City's goal after 56 minutes against Shakhtar before substitute Manor Soloman equalised four minutes after his introduction.

"It's a very good feeling to having secured the first position of the group," said Gundogan. "We are very happy about it. Even though there are plenty of things to improve in our performance, both defensively and offensively.

"The main thing today was to get the group done and secure the first position. That's what we did so it's really good for us."

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