Pep Guardiola has been left ruing how the fixtures have fallen for Manchester City after the international break, claiming they will face “the worst ” possible opponent in between their Champions League meetings with Borussia Dortmund.
City have been back to their dominant best this season and currently hold a 14-point lead at the summit of the Premier League. They are also into the last eight in Europe, into the semi-finals of the FA Cup and on course for a fourth consecutive League Cup triumph. They take on Tottenham in the final next month as they look to retain their trophy.
Such quality have they shown, many are backing City to go on and complete the quadruple this term. Should they do so it would be a step up from the four trophies they secured in 2018/19, with a long-desired Champions League replacing the Community Shield.
That European crown is arguably the trophy the club will want the most having failed to land one as of yet. However, Guardiola believes that task has been made tougher after discovering who they play in the middle of their two legs against Borussia Dortmund.
Leeds ‘the worst’ for Man City
City will host Leeds United on 10th April. That’s four days after the first leg, with the second coming four days later.
The Whites have been praised for their high-energy, relentless style since their promotion. They are also known for their high fitness levels, meaning opposition teams have to exert huge amounts of energy when they face the West Yorkshire side.
That’s far from ideal for City, who will have been hoping for a simpler task ahead of what could be a crucial second match against their German counterparts.
And looking ahead to City’s return, Guardiola made it clear he is expecting a tough test.
“When we come back, (we are) two months until the end of the season and every game is closer to winning titles but still there are many, many games,” he told the Manchester Evening News (via Yorkshire Evening Post).
“Leicester: 2-5 at home, how strong they are. And after, Champions League. And after, Leeds. Leeds is the worst opponent we can play between the Champions League (legs). The worst.”
Earlier this season, Leeds held City to a 1-1 draw at Elland Road. A second half Rodrigo strike cancelled out Raheem Sterling’s opener, meaning the points were shared.
They have also caused a number of the other top sides issues. Leeds pushed Liverpool all the way in gameweek one, took points off Arsenal and beat high-flying Leicester.
So with City’s focus potentially elsewhere, Leeds’ chances of a result at the Etihad could have just increased. The pressure is also off Marcelo Bielsa’s men, with their safety looking guaranteed.