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FootballManchester City boss Guardiola hails Aston Villa counterpart Emery

Manchester City boss Guardiola hails Aston Villa counterpart Emery

Pep Guardiola is not surprised to see Aston Villa challenging for a Champions League place – and has heaped praise on their manager Unai Emery.

Villa head into the midweek round of games sitting fourth in the Premier League, although they could be overtaken by Tottenham come kick-off at the Etihad tomorrow night.

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The weekend win over local rivals Wolves maintained Villa’s good form and Manchester City boss Guardiola knows his title-chasing side will have to be at their best to gain a much-needed three points.

He said: “[It’s] excellent, the way they play. Unai Emery has consistency every season. They’ve been impressive. It’s no surprise, the quality of him, his management and the team.

“I haven’t watched all their games but I think they’ll play with the same system and ideas.

“They’re good on set-pieces and in transition, with two quick players up front. They have a strong backline and an exceptional goalkeeper. That’s why they are where they are.”

City have nine games to go as they look to make history and land a fourth successive top-flight title – a feat that has never been achieved in English football previously.

They have the experience but Guardiola accepts there can be little room for error given they sit a point behind second-placed Arsenal and three adrift of leaders Liverpool.

“It’s just winning games, that’s what we have to do,” he said. 

“We have not many chances to drop points. Aston Villa are playing to qualify for the Champions League, every team plays for something, so the last few games will be difficult to manage.

“Our experience [of strong finishes] is over, it doesn’t count. What counts is Aston Villa. Being able to win lots of games in a row before, I don’t know how many [we can win] now. The only thing to think of is how to beat Aston Villa.”

City will be without defender Nathan Ake after he limped off during the goalless draw with Arsenal on Sunday. John Stones, an unused substitute against the Gunners, could feature but Ederson and Kyle Walker remain absent.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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