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Carabao Cup

'We'll have to be at our best,' says Guardiola

22 February 2019

Pep Guardiola believes his Manchester City side will have to produce their best football to retain the Carabao Cup this weekend.

The Citizens face Chelsea at Wembley Stadium this Sunday, looking to become just the fourth club to retain the trophy in consecutive years.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Guardiola says he expects the Blues to provide a tough test, but insists his players will be fully prepared.

“It was important [winning it last year], we were flying in the league at the time," he said. "We are here at Wembley Stadium against a top side in Chelsea, and we want to win the Final, it’s important. Let’s try to enjoy it and compete well.

"You have to play this type of game to win. The Chelsea players and manager will be focused to win the game also. For us, after winning it last year, to be there again is the most important thing. 

“Chelsea demand a lot of you, they’re one of the best teams in Europe at making you be more consistent defensively. The spaces to attack [against them] are minor and the movement from Jorginho helps their transition forwards and backwards.

"Of course, they have quality players like Hazard, Willian, Pedro and Higuain , so tomorrow we’ll be focused on what we have to do to win the game, the tactical approach. It’s a final and the players know exactly what it means to play in a final."

Guardiola faces some difficult team selection choices ahead of the Final, and says it's still too early to say whether John Stones, Benjamin Mendy and Gabriel Jesus - the competition's top scorer this season - will feature.

Goalkeeper Aro Muric has played an important role on the road to Wembley, one acknowledged by Guardiola, but the City boss is keeping his cards close to his chest regarding the young shot-stopper.

“Today was off, we weren’t training, so let’s see tomorrow," he added. "Right now, I cannot tell you if they [Stones, Mendy and Jesus] will be able to play on Sunday. 

“We will see [about Muric]. I think he’s been an important player to get us where we are. In the Leicester game, he was an important player, it was incredible, in the penalty [shoot-out]. He played really well and that’s why we trust him, that’s why he’s the second keeper for us this season."

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