Man City season ‘extra special’ due to fixture stress, says Guardiola

London (AFP) – Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City’s season has been “extra special” as the Premier League leaders chase a memorable treble despite a gruelling fixture schedule.

Guardiola’s side won the League Cup last Sunday and could wrap up a third Premier League title in four seasons this weekend.

City are also on track to reach their first Champions League final if they finish off Paris Saint Germain in their semi-final next Tuesday, having earned a 2-1 advantage following Wednesday’s first leg.

All this has come in a draining campaign which City began after a shortened close-season break, with matches coming thick and fast amid the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.

“It’s a lot of games and the problem is the shortness of time. It is home, game, home, travel, travel, here, here, game, game, travel,” Guardiola said.

“You cannot enjoy one game. We don’t have time to sit back one day or two, take a break and see what has happened.

“The team has been more resilient and calm. When you play every three days you don’t have time to see things clearly, because it’s the next one – then travel, then organise the team, then whatever.

“This is the most difficult thing when you play a lot of games, but the difference here is lockdown – our lives have changed completely – and it’s a shorter period of time.

“That makes this season so special for everyone. Winning one title already, close to another and playing another ‘final’ on Tuesday. It has been exceptional.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen in the last four weeks ahead of us but the season has been extraordinary already.”

City will clunch the title if they win at Crystal Palace on Saturday and second-placed Manchester United lose against Liverpool on Sunday.

Guardiola realises City are close but is not anticipating any slip-ups from United.

“We have an incredible title ahead of us and we have 95 per cent of the chance to win it. It is incredibly close,” he said.

“But we still need five points and I have the belief that United can win all the games.

“The best is to focus on the next, and after we have a ‘final’ like we had three days ago in Paris.”

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