Pep Guardiola knows his Manchester City players will not be able to forget Wednesday’s defeat to Real Madrid, but he does not believe that should be a problem against Newcastle United.
City suffered yet more Champions League pain as Madrid scored two late goals and another in extra time to beat Guardiola’s men 3-1 in their semi-final second leg, securing a 6-5 aggregate triumph.
Focus must now return to the Premier League, with City looking to preserve a one-point lead over Liverpool this weekend.
Newcastle should provide a stern test – particularly if the champions are still mulling over their midweek defeat – but Guardiola remains confident.
“They don’t have to forget it,” he said. “How are we going to forget it? We are going to play against Newcastle thinking about that, for sure.
“All the players in the training sessions, the meeting rooms, the warm-up, they are committed, they are going to do it. I don’t have any doubt about that.”
Speaking on Friday, Guardiola was yet to discuss the loss with his players.
“We didn’t speak. No words can help what all of us feel,” he said. “It’s just a question of time.
“(Saturday) will be the first day we’ll be together, and we are going to talk about who we are as a team, what we have done in this semi-final of the Champions League, how good we have been – not just in these two games but all season – and trying to do an excellent last week.”
Opposite number Eddie Howe is unsure whether the Madrid match will work for or against Newcastle.
“It can work both ways,” Howe said. “It can emotionally affect them in the positive or the negative.
“We will 100 per cent prepare for the best Manchester City, so we have to be the best Newcastle we can be.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Manchester City – Kevin De Bruyne
Having been substituted in Madrid in what Guardiola later confirmed to be a “tactical” switch, De Bruyne will be determined to have an impact in this match. Nine of his 11 league goals this season have been scored at home, while he has 15 goal involvements in his past 16 appearances.
Newcastle United – Callum Wilson
Newcastle hope to have Wilson back available for this game, having been out injured since December. Remarkably, despite Newcastle’s fine run, the England man remains their top scorer. His six goals are the joint-fewest by a leading marksman for a Premier League club this term, alongside Wolves’ Raul Jimenez.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Manchester City have lost just one of their past 28 league games against Newcastle (W23 D4), going down 2-1 at St James’ Park in January 2019.
– Newcastle have never won a Premier League game at the Etihad Stadium (D2 L14), losing each of their past 12 visits to the stadium. Their last away win against Manchester City was at Maine Road in September 2000, with Alan Shearer scoring the winner in a 1-0 victory.
– Manchester City have scored at least once in each of their last 26 Premier League games against Newcastle, the joint-longest run of one team scoring against another in the competition’s history (Arsenal v West Brom and Man Utd v Leicester also 26).
– Having failed to win four of their first 10 Premier League games this season (D2 L2), Man City have only failed to get maximum points in a further four of their past 24 in the competition (D3 L1).
– Only Liverpool (41) and Manchester City (33) have won more Premier League points in 2022 than Newcastle (32). However, the Magpies have lost three of their past four away league games (W1).