Twenty’s plenty as Pep Guardiola keeps Man City training short before cup clash

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The bulk of Manchester City’s squad will have trained for just 20 minutes before Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Sheffield United, manager Pep Guardiola has revealed.

The City boss says his players are still feeling the effects of Wednesday’s draining Champions League encounter at Bayern Munich and has not pushed them.

Yet Guardiola, who must also take into account the fact his side face a crucial top-of-the-table Premier League clash against Arsenal just four days later, insists he has no issues with the intense schedule.

Manchester City at Bayern Munich
Manchester City were in action at Bayern Munich in midweek (Adam Davy/PA)

“We are going to go out, take a breath and go through some things. Maybe the guys who didn’t play will train but, for the guys who did, it is just about the gameplan.

“There are some managers who say you have to train. I prefer to keep the energy as much as possible for the game.

“Control of fatigue is here, in the mind. When you believe you are incredibly exhausted (you are tired), when you have positive thoughts, you are not tired.

“We cannot complain. If you don’t want it, OK get out of the competitions, you’ll have long weeks.

“If you want it, like we have proven we want it, it is the reality. Accept it and fight for that.”

Although City did succeed and go on to win the competition in 2019, Guardiola concedes it has been a problematic fixture.

“In the past in the last three or four years, in the same situation, we were not there,” he said. “I would say maybe because we were so tired. It’s been a difficult game for us.

“We have to be able to change our mind to say how important it is, to see the strength of the opponent.

“I want the team to be there, we need to be there. The FA Cup deserves it.”

Manchester United, who are playing Brighton in Sunday’s semi-final, have tried to cut down on travel ahead of the game by flying straight to London following their Europa League game at Sevilla on Thursday.

Manchester City goalkeeper Zack Steffen looks dejected after conceding in the FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool
City were beaten by Liverpool in the FA Cup semi-finals last year (Nick Potts/PA)

Guardiola said: “Last season we travelled directly from Madrid to London to stay in the hotel, so we weren’t travelling here and back and back and back but, given the result, we are back at home.

“We are young, we are well cared for, with nutritionists with many things, good rest. We have to be ready.”

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