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Pep Guardiola makes honest fixture prioritisation admission ahead of Newcastle Carabao Cup clash



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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has named three upcoming fixtures as ‘more important’ than Wednesday’s Carabao Cup clash at St James’ Park against Newcastle.

The treble-winners, who haven’t won the Carabao Cup since a four-year winning streak until 2021, are preparing to face Newcastle United on Tyneside in the third round of the competition in midweek.

Pep Guardiola’s side travel to St James’ Park following a hard-fought 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest on Saturday afternoon and amidst a squad injury crisis, as a number of first-team players continue to struggle for full fitness.

Kevin De Bruyne, John Stones and Bernardo Silva are all sidelined for Manchester City, meanwhile Jack Grealish and Mateo Kovacic continue to recover from muscular injuries.

Guardiola was handed a further selection headache seconds into the resumption of Saturday’s Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, as Rodri was sent-off following an altercation with Morgan Gibbs-White, and will be unavailable domestically until Saturday 21st October.

Manchester City face Wolves on Saturday prior to a crunch clash with last season’s title rivals Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium next month.

The Blues also travel to Germany next week to face RB Leipzig in the UEFA Champions League, with four matches remaining for Manchester City before the next international break.

As a result of squad selection issues, Guardiola has admitted that Wednesday’s League Cup third round tie is of lesser importance than upcoming Premier League and Champions League fixtures – with Manchester City currently unbeaten in both competitions.

“Now is an exceptional situation, a lot of players are injured and a lot have played a lot of minutes and they have to rest,” revealed the Catalan coach.

“Tomorrow is important but Wolves, Arsenal and Leipzig, they are much more important.

“I have to take into consideration the effort in this period and the injuries or we’re going to be in trouble.”

Manchester City were dumped out of the Carabao Cup at the quarter-final stages last season, and face a potential fixture clash in December, should the Blues beat Newcastle on Wednesday evening and progress in the competition.

Guardiola’s side are competing in the FIFA Club World Cup in December, with their Premier League meeting with Brentford having been postponed as a result of the tournament in Saudi Arabia.