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Guardiola: City tiredness no excuse in title battle with Liverpool

Steve Nicol says Raheem Sterling is a completely different player than when he left Liverpool for Man City. He and Craig Burley explain his rise.

MANCHESTER, England -- Pep Guardiola believes he will able to tell if Manchester City have enough desire to win the Premier League title from Wednesday's clash with West Ham United.

City face Manuel Pellegrini's side just three days after a gruelling 120-minute Carabao Cup final against Chelsea on Sunday and with the Hammers having played two days' earlier.

But Guardiola warned his players that they cannot use tiredness as an excuse as they try to keep the pressure on leaders Liverpool.

"I don't want to see excuses from players about tiredness or schedules or fixtures -- that is nothing," he told a news conference. "When you have the illusion to fight until the end, to retain the title, it's the power the energy to give you that is higher than any excuses you can find.

"We have to run tomorrow like we are and beat them and after that beat them again. When you are in the last two months of the season, the mentality makes the difference and I want to see my players do this.

"People say without this player or this one... it doesn't matter. We have a good squad and a good second team too.

"I want to see the desire that we want to win the title. I don't care about the way we play or the other things. I want the smell during the game that we can win.

"Now that one competition is over I want to see on their faces that they want to win the title and I hope that after the game maybe I will be able to tell you I saw something special."

City are a point behind leaders Liverpool, who have won just one of their last four matches, and Guardiola says they need to keep the pressure on Jurgen Klopp's side.

"When you are on top you can drop points but when you are behind you cannot because it will be more difficult," he said.

"We have to focus on our game because it's the truth, but when [Liverpool] don't win we are happy. I guess Liverpool are happy when we don't win and the same with Tottenham and the others -- we cannot deny that.

"We have the difference of one point with 33 to play so it's in their hands but in our hands too. The only thing we can do is put on pressure, to make them feel that we are there and we are not going to drop points but win and win and win."

City face a mini-injury crisis going to into the match with Aymeric Laporte and Fernandinho ruled out for up to a month with muscle injuries.

Gabriel Jesus and John Stones are also missing for former boss Pellegrini's first game back at the Etihad Stadium, although there is better news with Benjamin Mendy in contention for the match.

"We were without John and Gabriel and they are still out now with Dinho and Aymeric," Guardiola said.

"I don't know how long. Next weeks they'll be out but hopefully after the international break. Hopefully, John and Gabriel are coming back soon.

"Maybe the Swansea game or after the intertaional break.

"Fernandinho cannot play against Schalke because he's suspended so we are going to take a risk and see after the international break.

"Mendy is better, he trained the last three or four days with no reaction. He could be fit to play."

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