Pep Guardiola looking beyond last league match to cup finals

Pep Guardiola admits his thoughts have already turned to the first of Manchester City’s two upcoming finals.

Treble-chasing City face arch-rivals Manchester United in the FA Cup final at Wembley next week before heading to Istanbul to take on Inter Milan in the Champions League showpiece seven days later.

The newly-crowned champions must first wrap up their Premier League campaign at Brentford on Sunday but, with little riding on the outcome at the Gtech Community Stadium, Guardiola admits he is planning ahead.

Manchester United v Manchester City
City will face old foes United at Wembley (Martin Rickett/PA)

The Inter game may remain at the back of the mind for now, but the United clash is starting to loom large in the City manager’s thoughts.

Guardiola said: “I would say I saw a little bit of Inter last week but not this week. I am more focused on United right now.

“I saw their game against Chelsea. I was really impressed and I have started to review a little bit what they did to us in the game at Old Trafford.

“As in the past, we have to be careful. I would be careful anyway but after Thursday and their games recently, we are going to prepare the best we can.”

Guardiola has a balancing act to play this weekend. He may wish to rest some players ahead of the finals but he feels it is also important that others maintain their sharpness.

Kevin De Bruyne
Guardiola could consider resting Kevin De Bruyne this weekend (Martin Rickett/PA)

Jack Grealish, Aymeric Laporte, Ruben Dias and Manuel Akanji were not risked at Brighton in midweek having not been deemed fully fit but big guns Erling Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri and Bernardo Silva all featured.

Guardiola said: “Brighton helped us to maintain the level and hopefully Brentford will help us to maintain this rhythm to play the finals.

“We need that but it is important to arrive in the last week before the finals with people fit and ready.

“The Brentford game will be completely different to Brighton. I know it is meaningless in terms of the points but, in terms of sustaining the demanding effort, they will push us. It will be so difficult.”