Pep Guardiola has downplayed the idea that the Premier League clash between Manchester City and Chelsea could have a psychological blow on his side if they lose in what can be viewed as a dress rehearsal for their Champions League final in Istanbul.
City will face Chelsea this weekend and victory over Thomas Tuchel’s side would guarantee them their third Premier League title in four years, irrespective of results elsewhere.
Both teams will not afford to expose their weaknesses when they clash on Saturday as the result from the encounter could go a long way to determine which team is likely to come out on top in the final.
Though, Chelsea have already beaten City in the FA Cup semi-final to deny them a shot at a quadruple, and a win at Etihad Stadium would be their second since Tuchel took over and delay their title coronation.
Saturday’s clash has added importance to Chelsea as they chase a top-four spot with their place in next season’s Champions League not yet guaranteed. But, the Spaniard says focus is on securing the Premier League title despite a European rematch with the west London side in three weeks.
“First of all congratulations to Chelsea for reaching the final – they put in a good performance against the kings of this competition Real Madrid,” Guardiola said. “If we were playing [the final] in one week or six days, it could be [an advantage] but there’s 21 days and many things can happen.
“The Premier League is so important for itself to think about another competition. We are going to try to play with the players who are perfect for the way they play and the qualities we have to beat them.”