Pep puts Wigan aside to ‘enjoy’ Carabao Cup final

Date published: Saturday 24th February 2018 11:32

Pep Guardiola has played down the personal significance of Manchester City’s pursuit of silverware in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final.

The City boss is potentially 90 minutes away from landing his first major trophy in English football as his side take on Arsenal in the Wembley showpiece.

Guardiola claimed a combined 21 trophies across his spells in charge of Barcelona and Bayern Munich and the brilliance of his City side this season suggests more will follow.

But the Catalan said: “I’d like it not for me – for the club. We are here to try to win titles.

“The first step was to arrive in the final. We did it and now will we try to win it.”

Guardiola bemoaned the “wasted energy” of the League Cup earlier in the season. The 47-year-old appeared no fan of the early rounds as he juggled the extra pressures they created with the demands of making solid starts in the Premier League and Champions League.

Yet even if Guardiola does consider the competition as a chore, it has not shown in the way he has prepared his teams for the games.

“Everybody knows here in England it is so demanding,” said Guardiola, whose side have also built up a sizeable lead in the Premier League and are well on course for the last eight in Europe’s top club event.

“All around the world they play three competitions, but here four.

“It’s one of the toughest schedules but if we were not interested in the competition we’d have dropped out in the first game.

“That will not happen. We will play every game to win. We deserve to be in the final and we are going to try to win.”

Until Monday City were still in contention for an unprecedented quadruple. Their bid for a clean sweep came to an end with a shock loss to League One Wigan but Guardiola expects his team to respond.

He said: “We are now involved in three so we are going, of course, to win.

“The team is stable, it’s been stable all season. The good moments come and there’ll be another one.

“We lost. Congratulations again to Wigan but now we are going to play a final. It is a moment to enjoy and be serious.

“We know exactly against which team we are going to play and we will try to win that title.”

Guardiola has confirmed that Claudio Bravo will again play in goal, as he has in all domestic cup games this season, but forward Raheem Sterling is a doubt with a muscular injury.

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