Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola insisted every remaining game is a final in pursuit of the Premier League title ahead of hosting Brighton and Hove Albion on Wednesday.
City head into the midweek games a point clear of Liverpool at the Premier League summit, but the Reds will leapfrog them if they avoid defeat against Manchester United on Tuesday.
While City still have a Champions League last-four clash to contend with, Guardiola acknowledged his side cannot slip-up in the league either.
“The challenge is the same as the last two weeks, the same, one point ahead. Every game is a final, challenge and fight until the end,” he said.
As for the United-Liverpool clash, Guardiola revealed who he will be supporting.
“We watch it as a fan. I watch at home, I want to know the result, would love United to get points but it won’t change if we don’t do our jobs in the next games,” he added.
“We can learn something for both teams.”
Brighton upset both top-four contenders Arsenal and Tottenham with consecutive victories, and Seagulls head coach Graham Potter hopes to add a third scalp to his list.
“I would say we’ll have to be even better than we were against Spurs. That’s the challenge,” Potter said.
“It’s very rare you get the opportunity to play against the very best in sport, so while it’s an incredible challenge it’s also exciting. We’ll go there and do our best.”
“In the game at the weekend (3-2 FA Cup semi-final loss to Liverpool) you saw their qualities. You admire them just as much in defeat as when they are winning games.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Manchester City – Phil Foden
Phil Foden has been involved in five goals in his three Premier League starts against Brighton, scoring four and assisting one. The 21-year-old has scored more Premier League goals against the Seagulls than he has any other side in the competition (4).
Brighton and Hove Albion – Leandro Trossard
Leandro Trossard has scored six Premier League goals for Brighton this season, his best return in a single campaign. The Belgian opened the scoring against Arsenal and netted the Seagulls’ winner against Tottenham in the last two games, with no Brighton player ever scoring in three consecutive Premier League away games before.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Brighton won 1-0 at Liverpool last season and could become just the third team to win away against the reigning Premier League champions in consecutive seasons after Tottenham (v Leicester in 2016-17 and Chelsea in 2017-18) and Liverpool (v Man Utd in 2000-01 and 2001-02).
– Man City have failed to win two of their last three Premier League games (D2), having failed to win just two of their previous 18 (W16 D1 L1). The Citizens’ 2-2 draw with Liverpool last time out was the first time they’ve opened the scoring but failed to win in the Premier League this season.
– Brighton have won just one of their 16 Premier League games on Wednesdays (6.3%), though that victory was away at reigning champions Liverpool last season. Of all teams to have played 10+ games on the day, only Watford (5.3%) and Portsmouth (5%) have a lower win rate than the Seagulls.
– After a seven-game winless run in the Premier League, Brighton have now won each of their last two. The Seagulls haven’t won three consecutive league games since October 2018 under Chris Hughton.
– Man City have won each of their last 18 Premier League games on a Wednesday – only Liverpool have had a longer winning run on a specific day of the week (21 on Saturdays between 2018 and 2020).