'Terrible' fixtures will focus Manchester City, says Guardiola

Pep Guardiola insists his Manchester City players will have no problem re-focusing on the Premier League - the most important title of the season, according to the former Barcelona boss.

City face Arsenal at Emirates Stadium on Thursday, four days on from easing past Arsene Wenger's men 3-0 at Wembley to lift the EFL Cup.

A 13-point lead at the top of the Premier League and 4-0 advantage over Basel in their Champions League last-16 tie means City have the prospect of claiming two more substantial pieces of silverware before the end of the season.

Guardiola twice won the Champions League while in charge of Barca but three league titles apiece across his spells at Camp Nou and in Germany with Bayern Munich hold a greater significance for the coach.

"We are fighting for the most important title of the season, by far, the Premier League," he told a pre-match news conference.  

"More than the Champions League, more than the FA Cup, more than the EFL Cup.

"In football and sport you always forget what you have done, good or bad, and think about the next one."

City's substantial buffer ahead of Manchester United at the summit is particularly welcome in Guardiola's eyes, as he prepares for a run of games including Sunday's visit of Chelsea, and trips to Everton and Tottenham either side of the Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium on April 7.

"There is enough argument to remain focused because our next six fixtures are terrible in terms of the quality of the opponents.

"We have four games away. Of course, we are in a good position but it is not already done.

"And when you think about [playing] Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, United and a team like Stoke City, who are fighting against relegation...

"Goodison Park is always statistically a tough game. We have a lot of tough games to play and have to remain focused."

Six wins from City's remaining 11 Premier League games will secure the title - an honour that cannot be earned with strokes of luck, as Guardiola conceded was the case during the earlier rounds of the EFL Cup.

"The Premier League shows how good you are during 11 months," he added. "Of all the titles I won over my career with my staff, always the league is the most difficult. It shows a lot.

"We won the EFL but with two penalty shootouts because of Claudio [Bravo]'s saves. You can go out doing the same. That is [the toss of] one coin - sometimes good, sometimes bad.

"But the league is not. The league is consistency and the players know that. The players know exactly how important the league is for our future. We know how tough it will be until the end of the season."

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