Guardiola focusing on Champions League with derby looming

Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The Premier League title will be sewn up should Manchester City beat Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, but Pep Guardiola admits that he has to train his eye on Liverpool.

“With the distance we have [16 points], we have to be focused on the Champions League and in the middle we have United, who of course we are going to try and beat and try and play, but the line-up will be thinking about Liverpool,” Guardiola said.

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Having battered Everton 3-1 at Goodison Park, Guardiola’s men assured themselves the opportunity to clinch a title earlier than any side in Premier League history. But the Manchester Derby is sandwiched between UEFA Champions League quarterfinal legs against Liverpool.

The manager fully understands how supporters feel and that their eyes might be trained on the derby — and City will do its best to win it — but City has, for lack of a better term, squad goals.

“I am a Barcelona supporter and if we are able to win the league at home to Real Madrid then that is special, we cannot deny that. But we spoke for the last period with the players that no matter the circumstances the important thing is to be champions.”

City’s fixture list presents prime opportunities to Liverpool, Manchester United… and Everton, who hosts the Merseyside Derby against a Jurgen Klopp side which will be prioritizing the Champions League as well.