Birmingham (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Pep Guardiola insisted Manchester City’s role in the European Super League controversy is a “closed chapter” as he urged his players to focus on clinching the Premier League title after Wednesday’s 2-1 win at Aston Villa.
City signed up to the breakaway Super League on Sunday, only to start the collapse of the tournament 48 hours later when they became the first club to officially pull out after a furious public backlash.
Guardiola’s side ignored the off-field drama to come from behind for a vital victory at Villa Park as the Premier League leaders moved 11 points clear of second placed Manchester United.
John McGinn’s opener rocked City after 20 seconds, but Phil Foden equalised and Rodri headed the winner before half-time.
City defender John Stones was sent off just before the break before Villa’s Matty Cash saw red in the second half.
City need eight points from their final five games to win a third English title in four seasons and that was all Guardiola wanted to focus on after the Villa clash.
“It’s a closed chapter, as a club we accept and learn and focus on the reason why we are here. We are so close,” he said.
“They (the owners) don’t need to apologise to me, I know them, I know how they are. It’s a chapter which is over.
“Losing today, the last games would have been dangerous because Manchester United are in top form.
“When you arrive in the last five games depending just on yourselves it’s a good credit. We know exactly what we need – play like today.
“After two defeats against Leeds and Chelsea we know how important it was.
“There was a lot of adversity, it was not the best of starts but we recovered and came back incredibly well, not just with the two goals but the way we played. It was a hugely important victory for us.”
Guardiola also provided an encouraging update on Kevin De Bruyne’s fitness ahead of Sunday’s League Cup final with Tottenham.
Belgian midfielder De Bruyne missed the Villa game with an ankle injury suffered in last weekend’s FA Cup semi-final defeat against Chelsea.
“It was less (damage) than expected and yesterday he felt much better. We’ll see after tomorrow’s training,” Guardiola said.
“If he’s not ready for this final maybe he will be ready for the semi-final in the Champions League (against PSG).”
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