Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has hinted he’s going to field a weakened team in his side’s crucial Premier League clash with Manchester United this weekend.
The league leaders can officially wrap up the title on Saturday if they beat United at the Etihad Stadium, but Guardiola also has two legs of his Champions League tie with Liverpool either side of that to think about.
It seems the Spanish tactician is focusing on getting a positive result in Europe ahead of the morale-boosting prospect of sealing the title against bitter rivals United.
This will come as some relief to Guardiola’s long-time nemesis Jose Mourinho, who has had a hard enough time of things lately anyway.
The Portuguese tactician is widely seen as having under-performed with United this season, as his side have hardly been in the running for the title at all despite looking a fairly safe bet for a distant second place.
The Red Devils were also disappointing in the Champions League, recently getting knocked out by underdogs Sevilla after an extremely negative performance over both legs of their last-16 tie.
?We are going to adapt the @premierleague game against @ManUtd with respect to the @LFC games in @ChampionsLeague. The line up will be thinking about Liverpool.
La alineación del partido de Premier contra el United estará condicionada por los duelos europeos ante el Liverpool. pic.twitter.com/46Ehju4OHh
— PepTeam (@PepTeam) March 31, 2018
Losing to City would really be the ultimate humiliation for United and Mourinho, but Guardiola has suggested he’ll rest players as the Liverpool games are his priority.
While this looks a little risky on the face of it, City will still have six remaining games in which to ensure they finish the season as champions, with none of their remaining fixtures even particularly challenging apart from an away game at Tottenham.
Of course, a second-string City is still perfectly capable of beating United, which would arguably then be even more of a humiliation for the red side of Manchester, though at least Pep’s giving them a chance.