Article

Guardiola targets Barca, Bayern dominance with Premier League priority

23 septembre 2018 23:30

Pep Guardiola will prioritise the Premier League over Manchester City's cup commitments as he aims to emulate the domestic dynasties of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Juventus.

City's bid for back to back titles is receiving a stern challenge from a Liverpool side that are two points clear at the top after stringing together six successive victories.

The champions did climb to second thanks to a commanding 5-0 victory over Cardiff City, a welcome confidence boost at the end of a week in which their Champions League tilt began with a 2-1 loss to Lyon.

Guardiola, who watched that match from the stands, will explore the depth of his squad for the midweek EFL Cup meeting with Oxford United, making no apologies for his desire to mirror the league dominance seen elsewhere in Europe.

"The first priority is the Premier League. That is the nicest one," Guardiola said.

"When I see for example three teams like Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Juventus that won seven leagues in 10 years, they show me they are the best teams.

"We want to be consistent and solid in that competition. And after, in the knockout games, to improve on the mistakes we have made in the past. We are going to try it."

Nicolas Otamendi is expected to retain his place for Tuesday's trip to the Kassam Stadium and is likely to be joined in defence by Danilo, who is yet to play a minute this term due to an ankle injury suffered while on World Cup duty with Brazil.

Brahim Diaz and Oleksandr Zinchenko are also in line to feature, while third-choice goalkeeper Aro Muric could make his City debut in place of Ederson as cup specialist Claudio Bravo remains a long-term absentee with a ruptured Achilles.

"I know quite clearly the guys in the first team that are going to play," Guardiola said. "Some players that played [against Cardiff] are going to play because they need rhythm.

"Nico [Otamendi] hasn't played too much in the last month. Maybe we can play Aro [Muric], but I haven't made the decision. I want to speak with [goalkeeper coach] Xabi [Mancisidor]."

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