Guardiola urges Manchester City to maintain high standards

City are now focused on beating Manchester United in the FA Cup final and Inter Milan in the Champions League showpiece

Published : 23 May 2023, 02:29 PM
Updated : 23 May 2023, 02:29 PM

Pep Guardiola expects a decline in Manchester City's performance after clinching the Premier League title but urged his treble-chasing side to maintain their high standards ahead of the FA Cup and Champions League final, the manager said on Tuesday.

City, who wrapped up the title when second-placed Arsenal were beaten at Nottingham Forest over the weekend, have won 12 successive games in the top flight. City have 88 points from 36 matches, seven more than Arsenal, who have one game remaining.

But City are now focused on sporting immortality by beating Manchester United in the FA Cup final and Inter Milan in the Champions League showpiece.

"The best way to prepare for the finals is to be ready. We set these types of standards and we have to maintain it," Guardiola told reporters ahead of Wednesday's trip to sixth-placed Brighton & Hove Albion.

"It is normal that we are going to drop because we expended a lot of energy already. The energy we spend was massive and once we lifted the trophy it's normal you drop.

"The teams can hurt us and we have to adapt the way we play in both games to arrive to United and Inter in the best way possible."

The Spaniard praised Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi, who has led his side to European football next season for the first time in the club's history.

Brighton are sixth in the standings on 61 points and need just a point from their last two games to secure a direct place in the Europa League, ahead of seventh-placed Aston Villa.

"Roberto de Zerbi is one of the most influential managers in the last 20 years. There is no team playing in the way they play - it is unique," Guardiola said.

"I had the feeling when he arrived in the Premier League that the impact would be great, but I couldn't expect he would do this in this short a time.

"He's better by far than all the opponents, he monopolises the ball in a way I haven't seen for a long time."

Guardiola said Dutch defender Nathan Ake is getting better, but City are being careful in case they "need him for United or Inter."