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“How nice!” – Pep Guardiola shrugs off Manchester City’s daunting March fixture list



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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has taken the club’s daunting March fixture list in his stride on Friday, describing the schedule as his preferred ‘nice’ run of games.

City host bitter cross-town rivals Manchester United this weekend before turning their attentions towards a run of challenging contests across multiple competitions, but more significantly the Premier League.

The outcome of Manchester City’s next matches will have huge implications on their trophy-winning credentials for the back-end of the season, with a UEFA Champions League knock-out second-leg and an FA Cup quarter-final coming within the month of March.

In the Premier League alone however, the meeting with Erik ten Hag’s side is followed up by a trip to Anfield to face Liverpool, as well as meetings with Arsenal and Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium either side of the international break.

Speaking ahead of Manchester City’s opening March fixture against Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon, Guardiola was keen to point out that the run of games for his side is his ‘preferred’ schedule.

“And (we play) Aston Villa (too),” insisted Guardiola. “How nice (to have this run of fixtures). I prefer that than the opposite. We have 20 key players. I know who you are talking about, but before they were injured for many years but we were there with the key players.”

Guardiola continued, “We are a team and the key players are everyone. Everyone is so important and it is so nice to have this fixture against United, to have the chance to qualify for the quarter finals of the Champions League.

“Then we have Anfield and then before the international break we have the chance against Newcastle – this is the the fourth time we have played this season – to reach the semi-final of the FA Cup. We worked so far since we arrived here to live these kind of moments.”

Manchester City’s squad is close to full compliment, but has been further damaged by another injury to left-sided forward Jack Grealish, whose return to match action following a previous muscular injury was cut-short by an aggravation of the problem against Luton Town.

Josko Gvardiol remains close to a return to match action however, having missed Manchester City’s most recent matches across all competitions with an ankle ligament injury, but has since returned to full first-team training.