Pep to play best Man City team against Burnley amid quadruple ‘fantasy’ talk

Pep Guardiola insists talk of Manchester City winning an unprecedented quadruple is a “fantasy” as he prepares to return to FA Cup action.

City are the only English club left with a chance of winning the Premier League, the FA Cup, the League Cup and the Champions League this season.

Guardiola’s side booked their place in the League Cup final, where they will meet Chelsea in February, after defeating third-tier minnows Burton Albion this week.

They sit four points behind leaders Liverpool in the Premier League, and return to European action next month when they have a favourable last-16 draw against German side Schalke.

This weekend, City play Burnley in the FA Cup fourth round – the only domestic competition Guardiola did not win in his first two years in charge at the Etihad Stadium.

Their impressive form over the first half of the campaign has City fans dreaming of success on a level never seen in English football, but Guardiola was in no mood to entertain such prospects on Friday.

“We are able to try to win tomorrow (Saturday). That is all I can assure you. Anything else is fantasy,” Guardiola told reporters.

“Always we try to have a strong team. The fact it is against a Premier League like Burnley, we are going to play with the best team to win the game, we believe.”

Guardiola, whose side were stunned in the FA Cup fifth round by Wigan last season, is clearly taking no risks against Sean Dyche’s Burnley.

And he has ruled out using unproven young players, as he did against Burton in midweek, when City continue their FA Cup campaign.

Philippe Sandler, Eric Garcia, Phil Foden and Ian Poveda-Ocampo were all used in a tie City eventually won by an aggregate 10-0. 

But none will feature against Burnley, with Guardiola saying: “They have to be prepared just in case.

“But we now have everyone fit except Vinny (Kompany). Everyone can play. Tomorrow, there will be no players from the academy.”

France defender Benjamin Mendy, out for over two months with a knee injury, also made a return against Burton and could feature against Burnley.

“He had his first 25 or 30 minutes after a long time out, so we will see,” said Guardiola.

The City manager also responded to the surprise sacking of his former Barcelona player Thierry Henry, who was dismissed by Monaco after a dismal three-month spell in charge of the French club.

“I don’t understand it, but not my business, I’m not there when people take decisions,” said Guardiola. 

“I know him well and I’m so sorry for him. He is an exceptional person, football sometimes you don’t understand, but it’s not my business.”


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