Win the league against United? Don't be ridiculous, says Guardiola
Manchester City's Premier League advantage could attach extra significance to April's derby with United, but don't tell Pep Guardiola.
Pep Guardiola believes the unpredictable nature of top-flight football means it is "ridiculous" to consider Manchester City clinching the Premier League title in April's derby against Manchester United.
City beat West Brom 3-0 in midweek as their neighbours and title rivals United lost 2-0 at Tottenham, opening up a 15-point gap at the summit with 13 matches to play.
If the difference between the teams remains the same when Jose Mourinho's men arrive at the Etihad Stadium six games from the end of the season, a victory for City would secure title glory in a manner aligned with most fans' wildest dreams.
Jose Mourinho told reporters on Friday that United and the rest are now playing for second place but Guardiola remains convinced there are enough obstacles ahead to not take anything for granted, starting with Saturday's early kick-off at Burnley.
"It's ridiculous to think about that," he said when confronted with the prospect of a dream derby for City supporters. "Just win the next one and the next one.
"It doesn't matter, the most important thing to try to fight until the end to be champion. Believe me, that is nonsense – it's not important.
"I know the distance of 15 points is quite good in this moment but in football and sport everything can happen. You are good today but tomorrow can be bad. A lot of things can happen.
"We will play on Saturday [after] two-and-a-half days recovery at a tough stadium. We will focus on what we have to do and then we will see.
"The only way to win titles like the Premier League or LaLiga or the Bundesliga is to be constant, every single game.
"That's why always the Premier League is the most important title because it shows your consistency every single week. That's why it's the most valued title for me and why we want to try and get it. Tomorrow we have another chance."
We still have to win eight games to be champions and we are going to try and win the next one in two days and a half.— PepTeam (@PepTeam) January 31, 2018
Todavía nos faltan ocho victorias para ser campeones y vamos a intentar lograr la próxima en dos días y medio.#cityvwba #mancity pic.twitter.com/XhLR1VHwtS
Next on the agenda is a period of rest, with Guardiola instructing his stars to switch off from football following a hectic spell that has seen them progress to the EFL Cup final and the fifth round of the FA Cup, while maintaining a handsome Premier League advantage.
"They will have until Wednesday afternoon off. We will close the doors here. We need to not see each other," he grinned, while dismissing any fears of downtime accidents similar to the taxi crash in Amsterdam that left Sergio Aguero with a broken rib in September.
"They can travel, they can do whatever as humans. If they want to go out and look for sunny days or maybe stay here, they are free. For three days they have to forget a little bit about football with their families and friends.
"From Wednesday afternoon we have to prepare here for Leicester and Basel but we need to break a little bit for everybody. Not just the players – the staff, the physios. It was a tough, tough period in winter time, we have this chance [to rest] for three or four days and we give it to them."