Previous
Watford
Southampton
1
1
FT
Game Details
Tottenham Hotspur
Brighton & Hove Albion
1
0
FT
Game Details
Next

Man City's Guardiola: Tottenham, Manchester United 'absolute finals'

ESPN FC's Craig Burley and Mark Donaldson square off in predicting who will advance to the Champions League semifinals.
Manchester City moved back ahead of Liverpool thanks to a brace from Raheem Sterling and a goal from Gabriel Jesus.
ESPN FC's Craig Burley breaks down what Sunday's Premier League results mean for Liverpool and Manchester City in the title race.

MANCHESTER, England -- Pep Guardiola said Manchester City's next three matches will go a long way to defining their season as they chase an unprecedented Quadruple.

City face Tottenham on Wednesday night in the Champions League trailing 1-0 from the first leg followed by a Premier League double-header against Spurs again and Manchester United.

Anything but a victory on Wednesday would see them eliminated from Europe at the quarterfinal stage for the second year running -- and Guardiola said he believes only maximum points in the Premier League will be enough to secure the title.

"If we don't win these games we will be out of two competitions," he told a news conference. "They are absolute finals for us, I've had that feeling from weeks ago.

"Every time in a competition [they are] when you arrive in the latter stages. We don't have a 12-point [gap] like last season -- in this period, we were already champions.

"But this season we have an incredible opponent like Liverpool in the Premier League. What they have done so far they deserve. Normally with 84 or 86 points you are champion -- they have 85. Both teams deserve to be champions but just one team is going to get it."

Spurs' first leg victory was helped by a noisy and intense atmosphere from the fans at their new 62,000-capacity stadium, and Guardiola said he needs the fans to generate a similar atmosphere if they are to make the semifinals.

"Many times I played in the semifinals and quarterfinals, and every time I played away the atmosphere was really incredible," he added. "They support their local teams.

"We need it -- really, we need it. I want to see that they want to get to the semifinals. Not the players, the players I have no doubt about after 20 months. I want to see my fans, our fans, that they really want the semifinals. I want to see that tomorrow."

City remain in the hunt for the Quadruple and while Guardiola has played down the possibility, defender John Stones said the players will do everything to win all four trophies.

"I don't think a lot of things are impossible, that is the mindset of different people and if you don't dream big then you are not going to get anywhere near it," he said. "It comes from within everyone -- we have this belief and ambition to do it.

"Like last season, 100 points never done before. We won the league quite early and still had the belief to go on and do it."

Oleksandr Zinchenko is the only player ruled out although Fernandinho only returned to training on Monday and is not yet at full intensity after being ruled out of Sunday's win at Crystal Palace.

Tottenham, meanwhile, are definitely without Harry Kane but Guardiola said they will remain dangerous opponents.

"[They will be] the same strong team they had three years ago, last season and this. [They are an] incredible top team."

Meanwhile, Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino says it would be a "massive dream" to win the Champions League but says that it is unrealistic to compare him with Guardiola.

Guardiola has already won 26 trophies as a manager, while Pochettino is still searching for his first and says it is not realistic to try to emulate his success.

"He is one of the most successful managers in the last 10 years for sure, there is not another like him," Pochettino told a news conference.

"For me, to win a title with Tottenham is a massive dream but to win 25 or 26, I am not sure, it is more than a dream for any coach or any manager in the world.

"What he did at Barcelona, Bayern Munich or now with Manchester City is unbelievable. He shows his quality, how good he. For us, it is not easy. We made sure our success as different coaches, earning different things, Espanyol, Southampton, Tottenham, different pressures to Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City -- we need to set our objectives at a different level. Any coach can dream to be one-percent successful like Guardiola is."

Without Kane to call on, Pochettino will delay a decision on whether to start Dele Alli, who broke his hand in the first leg.

The Argentine coach dismissed suggestions that City are under more pressure because of their bigger budget and said they need to match their opponents at the Etihad Stadium.

"I don't want to talk about that, the reality is the reality," he said. "We are going to be 11 against 11 on the pitch and of course to forget everything and try to win the game, to try to fight and to challenge them.

"I am a person and coach that never makes excuses after and never before. You describe a reality and the reality is there but tomorrow we are going to be on the pitch and try to win the game. We are going to be more than proud of our run in the Champions League and try to arrive in the quarterfinals and challenge a team like Manchester City. That doesn't mean we are not going to fight."

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.