Pep Guardiola fires Man Utd warning to City stars before FA Cup final heavyweight clash

Pep Guardiola has discussed the upcoming FA Cup final. (Image: Getty)

Pep Guardiola has issued a stern warning to his team not to underestimate their opponents in the all-Manchester FA Cup final showdown on Saturday.

Guardiola’s City clinched the Premier League title for the fourth consecutive time, finishing a staggering 31 points ahead of United, who languished in eighth position; their worst league standing to date.

Despite being pegged as firm favourites in the clash at Wembley, Guardiola urged his players to brace for the threat Erik ten Hag’s United may pose.

“We are used to it,” said Guardiola. “Because we finished 31 points in front of United, people say it will be easy. I understand that. But it’s a different competition, just one game. It can be 10 against 11, there can be bad decisions, mistakes – whatever – and you can lose a game.

“We know we can lose a game. Over long periods, we have been better than United these past years, it’s obvious. It’s facts every game we are there.

“But in one game, anything can happen. The players know it and feel it. So I hope we’re ready to play the last game of the season and try to win the FA Cup. It’s the FA Cup, it’s – wow! That’s why it deserves all of our focus.”

Ten Hag’s future hangs in the balance after a woeful season marked by incessant injuries. Guardiola expressed sympathy but issued a clear reminder: managers at top clubs must produce wins or run the risk of dismissal.

Pep Guardiola is aiming for more success after a fourth consecutive Premier League title. (Image: Getty)

City boss Guardiola has acknowledged the pressure that comes with managing top clubs, stating: “In big clubs like United and City, when you don’t win, you’re always in trouble,” and adding, “I would be in trouble if we didn’t win. He has done many good things.”

Guardiola expressed his admiration for the work of Ten Hag, saying, “I have huge respect for his job in the past and now at United. I completely agree when he says they’ve not had a full squad this season and had a lot of injuries.”

The City manager highlighted the importance of player fitness, remarking, “I think this is the most important thing they have to think about, because I’m always focused on the fact we have to be fit, fit, fit – otherwise we cannot use the players.”

He sympathised with the struggles faced by United due to injuries, noting, “They [United] have had a lot of problems and, when that happens, the manager suffers a lot. The squad is really good, but the problem is when you cannot use them. This is a big disadvantage.”

Guardiola also prepared his team for their upcoming clash, acknowledging United’s desire for redemption after last year’s defeat and emphasising respect for their rivals: “We respect United,” he said. “It’s always been like that since I arrived and in terms of the history.”

He concluded by paying homage to United’s historical dominance, despite City’s recent success: “In the last decade, we’ve been better, but in terms of history, they’re the best team in England. So, just for that, you have to respect them massively.”

Source: https://www.express.co.uk/sport/football/1903426/Man-City-Utd-Pep-Guardiola-FA-Cup-final