Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola tells players to embrace ‘beautiful challenge’ as hectic schedule looms

Pep Guardiola has told his players not to look at Manchester City’s forthcoming schedule but to embrace the ‘beautiful challenge’ after watching his side go 10 points clear at the top of the Premier League with a 3-1 win at Everton.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side did manage to lay a glove at least as Richarlison cancelled out Phil Foden’s opener – only the second time in the last nine league games City have failed to keep a clean sheet – but there was no denying them a 17th straight win in all competitions.

And, as they became the first English top-flight side to start a calendar year with 10 consecutive league wins in a row, it is harder to see who might deny Guardiola a third Premier League title.

City were without Ilkay Gundogan after the German midfielder sustained a groin injury during the 3-0 victory over Tottenham, but Guardiola maintained that he will need to call upon all of his players during a hectic schedule in order to battle on multiple fronts.

“If we want to win titles, we’re going to need the entire squad,” the City boss said. “What pleased me today was the solidarity even from the guys who didn’t play. From Benjamin [Mendy] in the stands, from John [Stones] and Alex [Oleksandr Zinchenko]. Everyone is a part of this.

“We have an incredible schedule ahead and we’re expecting a long week. We’ve not had a full week to train since the beginning of the season almost, so we’re going to need everyone. We go into every game trying to get the points and with a good performance. This is what makes me grateful to have these players.

“Winning 10 straight games at the start of the calendar year is nice but next is Arsenal. Tonight we celebrate but tomorrow afternoon we will start to think about Arsenal. It’s better you don’t see the schedule, otherwise you get depressed. But at the same time, it’s a beautiful challenge. We will come back here in a few weeks to try to get to the semi-finals of the FA Cup and we’ve seen how hard it will be. It’s not worth looking at the schedule. Just the next one, and that’s Arsenal.

Source: Sky Sports

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