London (AFP) – Pep Guardiola has urged his Manchester City side to cut out individual errors or risk finishing the season with a whimper.
City lost their Premier League crown to Liverpool last month but can still add the FA Cup and the Champions League to their League Cup win in March.
The dethroned champions, who host Newcastle on Wednesday, have lost nine league matches this season, including a 1-0 defeat to Southampton at the weekend.
That compares with just six Premier League defeats combined in the previous two seasons, as City were twice crowned English champions.
Guardiola’s team face Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-final later this month and are well-placed to qualify for the Champions League quarter-finals after winning the first leg of their last-16 match against Real Madrid 2-1.
“We have still incredible targets to fight, to try and play good and this is the most important thing,” Guardiola said at his pre-match press conference on Tuesday.
“We are in the point where we sometimes make mistakes,” he added. “We have to avoid it.
“If it happens like against Southampton, Tottenham and Norwich away we will be out and Arsenal will be in the (FA Cup) final and (Real) Madrid will go through.”
Despite defeats at Chelsea and Southampton since football resumed following the coronavirus shutdown, Guardiola has no doubts about the attitude of his players.
“I was worried how would be our approach but we have been incredible,” he said. “The performance was there and this makes me confident the team will not be relaxed.”
The British government has said selected international sports stars travelling to Britain will be granted exemption from quarantine requirements.
This would allow the delayed second leg of City’s Champions League tie against Real Madrid in August to take place at the Etihad Stadium but a final decision is still to be made by European football’s governing body UEFA.
Guardiola said: “We want to play in Manchester, that is normal, but we will accept playing where UEFA decide to play.”
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