Belfast Telegraph

Guardiola says focus is everything as City firmly back on track

Manchester City 3 Newcastle United 1

By Andy Hampson

Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City proved against Newcastle their title charge will not be derailed by complacency.

The runaway Premier League leaders responded to last week's first domestic loss of the season at Liverpool by overpowering the Magpies 3-1 with a Sergio Aguero hat-trick on Saturday.

Guardiola had said beforehand it was important that his players responded well and he feels the performance at the Etihad Stadium, which maintained a 12-point lead at the top, spoke volumes for their character.

The City manager said: "I said many times it was going to happen, we can lose, so (it is) important the reaction we have to do.

"Still we have 42 points to play (for). It is 14 games. It is a lot of games to play and difficult games like Saturday and like Liverpool. It is important to show the team is still there but I don't have the feeling we give up.

"We want to go through to the final in the Carabao Cup and the FA Cup, so (we have) a lot of games but I think the people have the desire to keep going, to keep going, to keep going.

"Even with 12 points it is important to see the personality, and try to do the things with no mistakes. Never did I not see it this season and that is why I am so proud to be their manager."

City have earned plenty of plaudits as they have dominated the Premier League this season.

But Guardiola, whose side are also still challenging in three other competitions, does not want to reflect on that yet and wants his players to focus only the games ahead.

He said: "I said to them until fixture 24 we were the best team but that doesn't count. It counts after fixture 38.

"Still we have 14 and to win 10 or 11 games will be tough. I said, 'Don't look back, look at what we have to achieve,' because if you try to (look at) what happened behind, that is not a good solution from my experience."

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