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Monday, March 1, 2021

Pep: Pundit predictions ‘in one ear, out the other’

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Man City ‘can take anyone apart’ even without a striker (1:44)

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    Rob DawsonCorrespondent

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says suggestions his team are favourites for the Premier League title “go in one ear and out the other.”

City are top of the table and have won their last 11 games in all competitions. It has prompted bookmakers and pundits to make Guardiola’s team favourites to win their third title in four years but the Spaniard isn’t listening to any of their predictions.

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“Just one month ago [they said] we had no chance to win the title,” Guardiola told a news conference on Friday.

“The pundits are always good when we win but not one month ago we were not even in Champions League qualification for next season and now we are the only favourites. It is in one ear and out the other. Nothing else.”

City’s winning run came after a spell during which they recorded just four wins from nine games and ahead of Sheffield United‘s visit to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, Guardiola insists there will be more difficult periods before the end of the season.

“In 11 months you have good and bad moments,” he said.

“We will have bad moments, we are going to lose games. We have won 11 games in a row, that is quite exceptional in the times we are living but we are going to lose games and drop points. It is how we recover that and be stable in that position. I am not concerned with the pundits’ opinion, it is their job and I respect that a lot but it goes in one ear and out the other.”

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City will again be without Sergio Aguero against Sheffield United as he continues his recovery from COVID-19.

Guardiola’s striker shortage has prompted speculation he could sanction a move for Edin Dzeko but sources have told ESPN the Bosnian will not be rejoining the club. Defender Eric Garcia could seal a move back to Barcelona before the transfer if the Spanish club can agree a deal.

“I don’t talk about the transfer market here,” said Guardiola.

“He [Dzeko] is a Roma player and I will never discuss this kind of situation. My feeling is that we will finish the season with everyone that we started the season with, except maybe one player that everyone knows may be moving.

“I don’t think anything else will happen. We will see in the final few days.”

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