Pep Guardiola calls on his Man City stars to ‘earn their place’ in the team ahead of FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea… with a history-defining Quadruple still on the cards
- Pep Guardiola has asked for his Man City stars to prove they deserve to start
- City face Chelsea in FA Cup semi final before Carabao Cup final vs Tottenham
- He said he wants those missing out to take their chances when they arrive
Pep Guardiola has approached his biggest month as Manchester City manager by urging the club’s stars to prove they deserve a place in a team targeting a Quadruple.
City face Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final before next week’s Carabao Cup final against Tottenham, having also booked a place in the Champions League’s last four.
Guardiola made just one change to his starting XI between the two meetings with Borussia Dortmund, with both Raheem Sterling and Aymeric Laporte left on the bench.
Pep Guardiola has urged his stars to prove they deserve a place in team targeting a quadruple
City face Chelsea in FA Cup semi-final before their Carabao Cup final against Tottenham
The City boss claimed he wants those missing out to take their chances when they arrive. Guardiola also seemingly took a thinly veiled dig at his former Barcelona striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who criticised the Catalan in his autobiography.
‘The locker room relationships in the bad moment this season has been fantastic and in the good moments it has been fantastic,’ Guardiola said.
‘That is not in doubt. The bigger stars want to criticise their managers? Ok, you talk, no problem.
‘Three days you have another game. Show me then after I will come to you and say oh f*** how wrong I was.
‘Out there, not here, not writing books. No, in a semi-final of a Champions League go there and win the game like the biggest stars do and after I say I’m sorry.
Attacker Raheem Sterling was left on the bench for both legs against Borussia Dortmund
‘The greatest are like this. They go there and score two or three goals. I say “oh f*** he was right and I am wrong”. Michael Jordan never went to the media and criticised his manager – he (just) won the NBA titles. Show it. The players know that I’m here to support them all the time.’
Guardiola – who is keeping faith with cup goalkeeper Zack Steffen – was in buoyant mood yesterday and, while he attempted to simmer talk of winning all four trophies, could not contain his thirst for creating history.
‘It is a privilege,’ he added. ‘Tough? It’s completely the opposite. It’s the best part of their careers. It doesn’t matter to win or lose – it is the best moment. Do it with a smile when we take the train down to London.
‘We are not tired. If you are tired, you don’t like this game. Tired would be going out against Dortmund and fly to London and play the game after a defeat. Now is not tough, there is no tiredness in our head. You have the desire to win a title.
‘I sleep better than ever. I come here dreaming of playing well and reaching the final. You have to stay in the present. Like golf mental teachers say, “stay in the present”. Prepare mentally for tomorrow, one of the toughest teams in Europe. Thomas Tuchel is one of the most talented managers.’