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Man City boss Guardiola energised by 'amazing' FA Cup

Man City head coach Pep Guardiola (right) is smiling again. Credit: PA

Pep Guardiola has already been won over by the FA Cup… The Man City boss could have been forgiven for fielding a weakened team against West Ham as he chases glory in the Premier League and Europe.

But instead he strengthened his line-up, recalling Sergio Aguero and David Silva, and was rewarded with a thumping 5-0 win at the London Stadium.

And after his first taste of the world's oldest cup competition Guardiola could not hide his delight at reaching the fourth round.

"We were focused," he said. "In Spain the cup is completely different, it's almost impossible to be eliminated in the early rounds but here it's amazing.

"People spoke a lot before I came here about how important it is and that anything can happen.

"It's always fascinating and that match was like a final, you are either in or out. Now we are happy because we are in the draw."

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Guardiola: tough for Man City to win title when Chelsea and Liverpool are not in Europe

Man City head coach Pep Guardiola. Credit: PA

Pep Guardiola accepted Manchester City face a tough fight to keep pace with Chelsea after labouring to a deceptive 3-0 victory at struggling Hull.

The win lifted City back to second, seven points behind leaders Chelsea, and Guardiola admitted there was no room for error after the west Londoners won their 12th successive game earlier on Boxing Day.

Guardiola said: "Sometimes you play before (Chelsea), sometimes later - but it doesn't matter when one team has won 12 in a row. It's like a final for us if you want to be there until the end of the season."

City are next in action on New Year's Eve at Liverpool, another title rival whom Guardiola feels are benefiting from a lack of European football.

He said: "Liverpool went so close one year because they had one game a week and last year, for Leicester, it happened the same.

"This time Chelsea and Liverpool are the ones. We have played seven more than them - and important games like the Champions League - which is why it will be tough."

Guardiola: Premier League gap is not big from top to bottom

Man City boss Pep Guardiola. Credit: PA

Pep Guardiola acknowledges Manchester City have tightened up defensively, but claims anything could still happen at Hull on Boxing Day.

City emerged from a bad spell by keeping a first clean sheet in nine attempts in a victory over Watford earlier this month and followed up by coming from behind to beat Arsenal 2-1 last week.

Guardiola said: "It is so important to be solid in the middle and at the back. Against Watford and Arsenal we conceded few chances, not just because of the back four but our pressing was higher. Our controlling the game was with the counter-attack, when we had to use it, and our retention of the ball.

"That is why we conceded few chances but every game is different. Absolutely anything can happen in every game.

"What I have learned in my short period here is that the gap between the first 10 and the last 10 is not a big difference.

"That is why it is difficult to win. I am not expecting that the games, whether they are home or away, will be easier than any others."

I don't train tackles - Man City boss Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola says he doesn't coach tackles Credit: PA

A 4-2 loss at Leicester City in the Premier League on Saturday means Manchester City have won four of their last 15 games in all competitions - having won Pep Guardiola's first 10 in charge - but despite their poor run of form the former Barcelona boss will refuse to compromise his passing style.

Shellshocked City also failed to win a tackle in the first 35 minutes, by which time they were already 3-0 down, but Guardiola played down the statistic.

The manager was also forced to defend centre-back John Stones again after the £50million summer signing from Everton made another mistake, presenting Vardy with his third goal with more poor distribution.

Today, except the last goal, he made a good performance. Central defenders is just defending, put the ball long, but what we want is a little bit more, not just defending.

I'm not disappointed with my players. When I need to tell them something I will tell it to then, they are professional and old enough to know what happens.

I want to play the football I feel. I cannot say we played badly or didn't play without the intention to create. Always I try to control the games so we concede few goals, in here I cannot do that and I have to analyse why.

The second balls is a concept here in England, I'm not a coach for the tackles so I don't train the tackles.

Hopefully in the future we can improve.

– Pep Guardiola

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Guardiola trusts Yaya Toure over drink driving charge

Yaya Toure's drink-driving charge will not affect his chances of selection for Manchester City's Premier League clash with Leicester on Saturday.

Toure will be available for selection this weekend. Credit: PA

The 33-year-old was charged last Tuesday after being stopped in Dagenham and is due to appear at Barkingside Magistrates' Court on December 13.

The news broke after Toure came off the bench during City's 3-1 defeat by Chelsea last weekend.

Fernandinho's dismissal at the Etihad Stadium and subsequent three-match ban increases Toure's chances of returning to the starting line-up against the Premier League champions.

Guardiola said:

I spoke to him about the issue. He gave me his reasons. I trust him. I take the decisions on what I see on the pitch about his behaviour.

I said before he played at Crystal Palace that he's part of the team because he's training good. He's fit. I love midfield players. If I could play with 11 midfield players I would, and he's one of them.

Then, after the charge, we are going to see what is the solution.

– Man City manager Pep Guardiola

Guardiola defends Aguero over horror tackle on Luiz: It wasn't intentional

Man City boss Pep Guardiola (right) was undone by Chelsea counterpart Antonio Conte. Credit: PA

Pep Guardiola apologised for the injury-time brawl that marred a pulsating encounter between Man City and Chelsea but refused to criticise Sergio Aguero, sent off for his knee-high tackle on David Luiz.

Fernandinho was then also sent off for repeatedly pushing Cesc Fabregas, with the Spaniard ending up falling over an advertising hoarding.

It proved a costly afternoon for City, who led at half-time but ended up losing 3-1, and now face losing Aguero for four games and Fernandinho for three.

Guardiola said: "It is a pity it finished like this. It was the way the referee decided. I don't like that, I apologise for what happened."

Aguero has already served a three-match ban this season, imposed retrospectively for an elbow on West Ham's Winston Reid.

Taylor surely had no option but to send off Aguero, but Guardiola said: "He (Luiz) went down and he (Aguero) touched him. It wasn't intentional.

"Maybe I have to understand many things about the referees here. It's a red card, okay, we are going to deal with that."

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