Belfast Telegraph

World Cup 2018

Fixtures & Results

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Quadruple talk 'not realistic', says City boss Guardiola

Pep Guardiola claims winning all four trophies this season is "an illusion".

The Manchester City manager believes it is far too early in the season to be talking about the quadruple.

City are 15 points clear at the top of the Premier League, through to the last 16 of the Champions League and into the Carabao Cup semi-finals.

They begin their FA Cup challenge with a home tie against Burnley on Saturday.

Guardiola said: "Maybe that question can be asked in March or April if we are still in all four competitions. After that, we are going to talk.

"But tomorrow is the third round of the FA Cup. So thinking about four competitions, it's an illusion, it's not realistic, I would say.

"We will need 32 players to play really well for four competitions and that is not going to happen in my squad, to have 34 players."

Guardiola made headlines earlier in the week when he suggested the heaviness of the festive fixture schedule was "going to kill" players.

Despite that, he says he has no intention of making wholesale changes for the third-round clash with the Clarets.

Asked if he might field some of his younger players, he said: "No way. We are going to try to play the best team that's possible, because we play against Burnley. Against Huddersfield (last season), we needed a replay."

Guardiola insists his complaints about the Christmas programme were not about the number of fixtures, but the close proximity of the games on December 31 and January 2.

He said: "All the doctors, the physios, all around the world, say that in 48 hours, the body does not recover to play again, in such a demanding competition like now. That's why my comment.

"But we have to adapt. It's what it is. If the schedule next season says you have to play every two days, then every two days we are going to play."

Guardiola expects a tough challenge from Burnley, who have been led to seventh in the Premier League by Sean Dyche.

"What he has done so far is amazing," said Guardiola. "So after the six title contenders, the next team are Burnley. They make amazing results. It's a tough draw for us but we want to keep going in that competition."

Guardiola, speaking at a press conference, gave little away regarding possible transfer targets during the January window.

The club continue to be heavily linked with Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez, while they are also thought to be keen to bring in another centre-half.

Guardiola said: "The toughest period to buy players is now because everyone wants to keep the players.

"If we believe we need something because we are in four competitions and anything can happen, then OK.

"If it doesn't happen, we are going to move forward with the players we have."

Asked if there was a risk a new signing could upset the squad harmony, Guardiola said: "If that player is nice, then there's no risk."

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