Pep Guardiola hails ‘special players’ as Manchester City break another record

Phil Blanche, PA

Pep Guardiola hailed his “special players” after Manchester City’s FA Cup victory at Swansea set a new record for consecutive wins by an English top-flight club.

Guardiola also celebrated a 200th win as Manchester City manager as goals from Kyle Walker, Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus secured a 3-1 fifth-round success in Wales – the club’s 15th consecutive victory.

The triumph took them past the previous record of 14 wins by English top-flight clubs in all competitions, jointly held by the Preston side of 1891-92 and Arsenal in 1987.

“It shows how special these players are,” Guardiola said after his side had booked their FA Cup quarter-final place.

“The record will be broken for sure, because sports is like this, but it means a lot, to do what we have done in the winter time and Christmas time is quite remarkable.

“It is the toughest time, but what is important is the way we are still playing with our consistency.

“We have an incredible week ahead of us and we will approach it game by game.”

Guardiola made seven changes to the side which had won 4-1 at Liverpool on Sunday to establish a five-point lead at the top of the Premier League.

Kyle Walker, left, celebrates his goal with Bernardo Silva
Kyle Walker, left, celebrates his goal with Bernardo Silva (Nick Potts/PA)

Defender Ruben Dias and midfielder Fernandinho did not travel to Wales, but Guardiola hopes the pair will recover in time for Tottenham’s Premier League visit on Saturday.

“Ruben had a fever and still has a problem with his stomach,” Guardiola said. “That’s why he was not able to train and today we travelled.

“Fernandinho had some niggles in the quad and he was not able to play, but we played a strong side.

“I know we were comfortable with the ball, but every time they break our pressing they create chances.

“They’re a really strong team, but we’re in the next round so I’m very pleased.”

Swansea are third in the Sky Bet Championship and were unbeaten in 10 games, eight of which they had won.

Young striker Morgan Whittaker came off the bench to score his first goal since joining from Derby, but three Manchester City goals inside the first 50 minutes had decided the outcome by then.

Swansea head coach Steve Cooper said: “It was a really difficult task going into it anyway, and it proved to be that.

“To be 3-0 down after 50 minutes, it’s a real test of character – it can go one way or the other.

Manchester City’s Phil Foden, left, with Swansea manager Steve Cooper
Manchester City’s Phil Foden, left, with Swansea manager Steve Cooper (Nick Potts/PA)

“We certainly didn’t hide. The rhythm of the game stayed the same, but we kept going. We didn’t concede another goal and we scored a goal.

“There wasn’t one sign of any players – I know we made changes – hiding from the challenge.

“I think that’s a really good sign of mentality, and we got some new players on the pitch, Morgan takes his goal, and that’s really good for him.

“We’ve got to play against and see one of the best teams in the world live.”

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