Guardiola urges Man City to embrace hectic schedule

Soccer Football - Premier League - Everton v Manchester City - Goodison Park, Liverpool, Britain - February 17, 2021 Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola Pool via REUTERS/Peter Powell

(Reuters) - Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said it would be easy to feel overwhelmed by the packed fixture schedule but called on his players to embrace the "beautiful challenge" as they compete for four trophies.

City moved a step closer to a third Premier League title in four seasons on Wednesday after their 3-1 over Everton put them 10 points clear.

They remain on course for four trophies this season, and next visit Arsenal in the league on Sunday before resuming their Champions League campaign with the first leg of their last-16 tie against Borussia Moenchengladbach on Feb. 24.

"The schedule can get you depressed as it's too many games," Guardiola told a news conference. "The guys need rest but at the same time it is a beautiful challenge.

"We don't look at the calendar, just the next one -- Arsenal after a few days, we then travel to UCL (Champions League), then West Ham (United), Wolves, (Manchester) United, non-stop."

City's win at Everton was their 17th consecutive victory in all competitions.

Guardiola, who was without in-form midfielder Ilkay Gundogan on Wednesday due to a groin injury, said he would need to call upon his whole squad to maintain the challenge on all four fronts.

"If we want to win titles, we're going to need the entire squad. What pleased me today was the solidarity even from the guys who didn't play," Guardiola added.

"From Benjamin (Mendy) in the stands, from John (Stones) and Alex (Oleksandr Zinchenko). Everyone is a part of this."

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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