Pep Guardiola does not believe Manchester City’s opponents are beaten before they arrive at the Etihad Stadium.

The champions have won 39 of their last 44 Premier League matches at home – a record they will hope to improve when they host Wolves on Sunday.

Such a statistic could intimidate visitors, but Guardiola claims that is not the case and that his side’s good results are down to their own hard work.

The City boss said: “My feeling is no (there is no intimidation factor).

“I cannot imagine when teams before the game are not thinking, ‘We can do it’.

“I know the managers and how competitive all of them are, how they’ll try to seduce the players and say, ‘We can do it’. They’ll be thinking, ‘We can go and do a good game’.

“Sometimes we don’t win but when we do it is because we do something good.

“We have to try it against a team we know quite well. We have played many times against Nuno Espirito Santo’s team in Carabao Cups and leagues and other stuff.”

Guardiola is proud of his side’s home record and feels that has underpinned their title successes of the past two seasons.

He said: “In some moments you need luck to win games, to make a lot of points, win titles.

“But we have effort and very good things, so I’m proud of the the effort and the way we have done it.

“Our first season (at City) was not consistent. We had problems. I didn’t expect it when I landed here. I thought at home we would be strong and away tough but it was completely the opposite in the first season.

“But since then, the second season and third season and this season as well, we have been strong at home. To try to win titles you have to be strong at home or you have no chance.”

Fernandinho is set to continue in central defence for City alongside Nicolas Otamendi, with John Stones and Aymeric Laporte still out injured.

It will be the 34-year-old Brazil midfielder’s third game in just over a week, but Guardiola is confident he can handle it.

He said: “He didn’t have many minutes in his legs before these three games. Except the last part of last season – in the previous seasons – he’s played every three days over 11 months. So I think he can do it.”

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Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

Jurgen Klopp insists Liverpool would be able to cope in the event of an injury to defensive talisman Virgil van Dijk.

Liverpool’s title rivals Manchester City are suffering from an injury crisis at the heart of their defence, with Aymeric Laporte and John Stones both sidelined, leaving Nicolas Otamendi as their only fit senior centre-back.

Ahead of the Reds’ trip to Chelsea this weekend, Klopp was asked how Liverpool might cope should they suffer similar misfortune with Van Dijk.

“Does it keep me awake? Not yet,” he told his press conference. “It is the reason we have four centre-halves. It is not easy for the ‘in the moment’ No.4 to play.

“Of course injuries can happen but cannot think about them before they happen. We all need luck to be successful.”

“I’ve said it a lot of times, we have four world-class centre-backs. They can all play together in each partnership.”

Liverpool have already been hit with an injury to goalkeeper Alisson. But Klopp revelaed the Brazil stopper is edging closer to a return even if he cannot pinpoint a date.

“Alisson is making big progress,” he said. “A proper session yesterday with John Achterberg.

“He is not in team training yet, and we take it day by day. We will see. Too early to say.

“Naby Keita is back in training with the team. Today is first time with the team.”

However, striker Divock Origi is unlikely to feature against Chelsea on Sunday after suffering an ankle injury in last week’s win over Newcastle.

“Div, we have to see day by day, that’s how it was from the first day – how can he deal with the pain and stuff like that,” Klopp added.

“It is pretty early, so I don’t know exactly what the medical department will tell me (today) about that case.

“I think it’s unlikely but why should I rule him out? But it’s unlikely.”

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Posted in EPL, FA Premier League