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Pep Guardiola wary of Wigan as Manchester City continue quadruple quest

Wigan beat City in the FA Cup final in 2013 and the quarter-finals the following year.

Pep Guardiola knows enough about the FA Cup – and Manchester City’s history with Wigan – to be wary of a shock on Monday.

Guardiola’s runaway Premier League leaders face a fifth-round tie at the DW Stadium against Wigan, who famously beat City in the 2013 final.

Latics also stunned City in the quarter-finals in 2014 and, even though they have since slipped into League One, Guardiola is taking nothing for granted.

Ben Watson heads in Wigan's winner at Wembley

Paul Cook’s Wigan, who are flying high in their division, have already knocked out two top-flight sides this season in Bournemouth and West Ham.

City boss Guardiola said: “Of course I am concerned because I saw the game against Bournemouth. Bournemouth are one of the teams I like to watch the most in the Premier League and they were able to beat them.

“I think in the FA Cup there are a lot of surprises, not just this season or previous seasons, but all throughout history you always have these kind of situations happening.”

City have a 16-point lead at the top of the Premier League but have put their title charge to one side as they focus on the other three aspects of their remarkable quadruple challenge.

On Tuesday they all but secured a place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a 4-0 first leg victory at Basel and next weekend they face Arsenal in the Carabao Cup final.

Guardiola insists the challenge against Wigan is just as important for the players.

He said: “It would be good for my players not to think too much of the final next Sunday, they (should) think about the final next Monday.

“I think that is the important thing for that game. It’s one game, the chance to go to the quarter-finals and we are going to prepare as much as we can.”

Manchester City remain on course for multiple trophies

Claudio Bravo could feature in goal for City. The Chilean has played in all previous domestic cup matches this season as Guardiola has opted to rest first-choice Ederson.

Guardiola could also make changes to his back line with all four senior centre-backs – Nicolas Otamendi, Vincent Kompany, John Stones and record signing Aymeric Laporte – fit and available.

David Silva and Leroy Sane could continue their comebacks from injury having featured as substitutes in midweek but the game is likely to come too soon for striker Gabriel Jesus.

The Brazilian, out since suffering knee ligament damage on New Year’s Eve, returned to full training on Friday.


From Belfast Telegraph