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Manchester City

Guardiola unsympathetic to jaded City stars amid quadruple chase

19:40 GMT+3 26/02/2019
PepGuardiola - cropped
The defending champions host West Ham as their Premier League aspirations take priority in the next week

Pep Guardiola will not accept any complaints of tiredness from his Manchester City players as they prepare to turn their attention back to retaining their Premier League title.

City were taken to extra time and penalties by Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday before winning the first major trophy of the season, the first in a possible quadruple.

West Ham are the visitors to the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday in the midst of a run of nine games in 31 days

And though the injury list is growing - Aymeric Laporte and Fernandinho will be absent until after March's international break after picking up knocks at Wembley - Guardiola is unwilling to hear excuses.

"I don't want to see excuses from my players about tiredness or the amount of games, that is nothing when you have to fight until the end to the retain the title," he explained.

"The power and energy to achieve that is higher than any excuses you can find.

"The last few months of the season, the mentality makes the difference.

"I want to smell in the locker room, at the beginning of the game and during the game, if we really want to win this title."

The defending champions trail Liverpool by a point at the summit with 27 matches played, with the Reds having drawn three of their past four league matches.

The current state of play is not lost on Guardiola but, with 11 matches still to play, he believes the two clubs are now as good as level pegging for the title.

"They're still leading. So far they are better than us, than Tottenham and the others," added the Spaniard. "We focus on our game but of course we look at what they're doing and when they don't win we are happy.

"I guess Liverpool are happy when we don't win. Same with Tottenham and the others.

"We have a difference of one point and we have 33 points to play for. It's in your hands. It's in Liverpool's hands, but it's in our hands too.

"The only thing we can do is put them under pressure."

As well as remaining in the running in the Premier League, with club face Schalke in the second leg of Champions League last-16 and have a FA Cup quarter-final with Championship side Swansea City.