Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola welcomed the challenge of navigating through a packed fixture list this month, saying his team’s busy schedule was a result of their dominance across domestic and European competitions.
City will play eight times in April in the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup, starting with Saturday’s league game at Burnley before taking on Liverpool in an FA Cup semifinal and Atletico Madrid twice.
League leaders City, the reigning champions, have 70 points from 29 games — one point more than second-placed Liverpool, whom they will host at the Etihad Stadium on April 10.
“We have a lot of games, but it’s not the first time we’re doing it… We’ve done incredible work so far,” Guardiola told a news conference on Friday.
“We still have nine games left to play (in the league). We can (make) mistakes and win the title… We’re going to fight until the end, that’s for sure.”
Liverpool will have the opportunity to overtake City at the top of the league standings if they beat Watford in Saturday’s early game but Guardiola said his side remain focused on their trip to Turf Moor.
“It means nothing,” Guardiola said when asked about Liverpool’s advantage. “At the end of the weekend we will know the position that we are in but whether we are points in front or backwards we have to do our job.
“Burnley away is always tough, especially with the way they play,” he said of Sean Dyche’s team, who are in the relegation zone in 19th place with 21 points.
“I have incredible respect for Sean Dyche for many years. The consistent way they play shows he’s a good manager.”
Guardiola said centre-back Ruben Dias, who has been sidelined since the beginning of March, would miss Saturday’s game and might not recover in time for next week’s clash against Liverpool.
“Ruben Dias and Cole Palmer are out, the rest are fit,” he said.
“Ruben is out, I don’t know how long. The doctor said four to six weeks, he is on four now. I think we need 10 days or two weeks more.”