Soccer

Pep Guardiola says Man City will not be Premier League champions if they drop points

Pep Guardiola admits Man City must not drop any points in their final six Premier League games if they are to beat Liverpool to the title.

Defending champions City, one point ahead of Jurgen Klopp’s team, face Crystal Palace (away), Tottenham (home), Manchester United (away), Burnley (away), Leicester (home) and Brighton (away) in their final fixtures.

They beat relegation-threatened Cardiff 2-0 on Wednesday night and Guardiola’s quadruple-chasers face an FA Cup semi-final against Brighton on Saturday before they return to top-flight action.

“We have the feeling that if we drop points we will not be champions,” Guardiola said.

“I don’t know what condition we are going to arrive in (against Brighton) but against Cardiff we should have scored more goals definitely, that is a little bit of regret we have.”

City will need to make a change at left-back for Saturday’s clash at Wembley, after Oleksandr Zinchenko limped off during the victory over Cardiff.

Zinchenko lasted just 19 minutes before succumbing to a hamstring injury as Danilo switched from right-back to cover, but Guardiola admits the Brazilian is not a natural in the position.

That raises the possibility of a recall for Benjamin Mendy, who is now fully recovered from the knee injury that has kept him out for most of the last five months, but the Frenchman appears out of favour.

The 24-year-old was the subject of disciplinary action earlier this season when he reported late for treatment after attending a high-profile boxing event the previous evening.

Further questions of Mendy’s status were asked this week after he was spotted in a nightclub in the early hours of Saturday morning.

“Zinchenko gave us a lot and he is an important player for us,” Guardiola added. “He knows the mechanisms, he knows the way we want to play.

“But during the season this kind of thing happens if you play a lot of minutes. You accept it and we are going to find a solution. I don’t know right now which one because Danilo fought a lot to play in that position. I appreciate that a lot.

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