Pep Guardiola has called on supporters to help re-energise his Manchester City side as they take on Arsenal on Sunday.
The City boss expects the Premier League leaders to be a little weary after Wednesday’s exhilarating Champions League win away at Napoli.
City beat the Serie A pacesetters 4-2 in a compelling clash but they had little time to enjoy it before travelling home to begin preparations for the Gunners’ visit to the Etihad Stadium.
“We need our fans’ support,” Guardiola said. “After the Champions League it is so tough.
“On Thursday (in the Europa League) Arsenal played without the real squad who are going to play on Sunday, so they rested for one week.
“The lack of energy we will have is normal after the Champions League, so our supporters can help us in that.”
City have not been beaten in 22 competitive fixtures since being edged out by Arsenal in extra time of last season’s FA Cup semi-final.
Their current run of 14 successive wins is a new club record but extending the sequence is not what motivates Guardiola.
“What matters is to play good and win the game,” he said. “Records are always a consequence of winning games and making good achievements. The main thing is to win the next one.”
Another notable City record which fell this week was their greatest goalscorer mark. Sergio Aguero’s strike in Naples was his 178th for the club, eclipsing the 78-year-old record of Eric Brook.
City were making plans to commemorate Aguero’s achievement with some form of presentation before the game. It will then be straight back to business for the 29-year-old.
Guardiola, speaking at his pre-match press conference, said: “I said many times sooner or later was going to break it. His contract ends in 2020, so that’s what happens.
“He was focused on winning the game, he was focused on doing what he had to do for him for his team-mates, for the club, but it was good news for him. It is a big achievement and he has to be so proud. Now Sunday is another one.”
Mentioning the expiry date of Aguero’s contract was noticeable, given the player himself appeared to forget it and refer to 2019 in a post-match interview in Naples.
Guardiola’s own contract ends in 2019 and there does seem willingness to extend, but that will not be done yet.
“We’ll have time about that,” Guardiola said. “I was happy last season so you can imagine how happy I am now. I’ve been comfortable here since the beginning. It is not a big issue.”
City are clear Premier League favourites having opened up a five-point lead but Guardiola is taking no notice.
He said: “How many games are left? Twenty-eight. How many points? Eighty-four. Eighty-four points to play for, five points in front. It’s nothing.
“Even for the best teams in the world, in the whole history, it’s impossible to maintain what we have done in the last two months.”