Pep Guardiola warns Man City players not to think about ‘consequences’ & points to Aston Villa example

Pep Guardiola has told Manchester City's players not to think about the 'consequences' of their final-day clash against West Ham.Pep Guardiola has told Manchester City's players not to think about the 'consequences' of their final-day clash against West Ham.
Pep Guardiola has told Manchester City's players not to think about the 'consequences' of their final-day clash against West Ham.
The Manchester City manager is just one game away from winning a record-breaking fourth consecutive title.

Pep Guardiola has cautioned his Manchester City players against ‘thinking about the consequences’ of their games at this crucial period of the season.

City secured a vital 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday night that sees the champions overtake Arsenal and move into first place. But it was a nervy display from City, not in keeping with their recent performances.

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That the Blues got over the line was down to game-changing moments from Kevin De Bruyne, Erling Haaland and Stefan Ortega, rather than an assured team display. Nevertheless, the win sets up a final-day clash against West Ham United and the opportunity to claim a record-breaking fourth consecutive league top-flight title.

While Guardiola has said nerves are inevitable at this pivotal juncture, he has warned his players not focus on the enormity of the situation in front of them.

“They were playing for the consequences of the result [against Tottenham]. When you play football thinking about the consequences that you are going to lose the Premier League, you can't perform at this level,” the City boss told Sky Sports

“But they are human beings and I can understand the pressure is there. Not even Arsenal played exceptional against United [on Sunday]. They know that if they don’t win there they will not win the Premier League and they play with that pressure. It will be the same against West Ham.”

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Sunday’s finale will be the 10th time the title has been decided on the last day of a Premier League season, and the fifth involving City. The previous four have gone in City’s favour, but it hasn’t always been straightforward, with comeback wins required against Queens Park Rangers in 2012 and Aston Villa two seasons ago. 

For that reason, Guardiola is not taking West Ham lightly, while Kyle Walker and Rodri also mentioned the famous near miss against Aston Villa in 2022.The message from the City camp is clear: they know a final-day slip-up is a real possibility.

“We will feel the pressure,” Guardiola said. “Look at Aston Villa a few years ago. 0-2 with 15 minutes left. Sergio Aguero against QPR. The emotions are there. That's why I talk about everyone relax and perform as you have to do.

“They [the players] feel it,” he added. “We are not celebrating anything. They were happy [to beat Tottenham], relief because we wanted to arrive with the last game, but we have another job to do. We have our supporters. 

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“Now it’s Kudus, Antonio, Bowen, Ward-Prowse with the set-pieces, and Soucek. They are tricky and anything can happen - we take nothing for granted. The players who win Wimbledon say the serve to win Wimbledon is the most difficult one. This is what we have to do, to believe it, prepare well, completely focused.”

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