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City cannot afford to look past Luton amid busy quest for three trophies

Guardiola's squad is feeling the workload of the mounting games
Guardiola's squad is feeling the workload of the mounting gamesReuters
Manchester City cannot be tempted to look ahead to next week's Champions League game against Real Madrid, said manager Pep Guardiola (53), as his team host struggling Luton Town on Saturday in their bid to retain their Premier League crown.

"We have to (focus on Luton Town), the Premier League is so important," Guardiola said on Friday.

"It's 11, 10 months we've been fighting for the title, we know what position we are in."

Third-placed City, who have 70 points with seven games remaining and zero margin for error, can climb atop of the table on Saturday and crank up the pressure on Arsenal and Liverpool who share the points lead on 71.

City in the standings
City in the standingsFlashscore

Guardiola was unable to provide an update on the fitness of Nathan Ake, Phil Foden and Kyle Walker on Friday. 

Foden was forced off late in Tuesday's 3-3 draw at Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie, while Ake and Walker were already sidelined with injuries.

"We're training this afternoon and then we'll know better how they feel," he said.

Brazil goalkeeper Ederson is fully fit and should reclaim his starting spot on Saturday from Stefan Ortega.

City midfielder Rodri had pleaded for a rest after their 3-3 draw with Madrid and conceded the squad are tired amid their busy campaign for three remaining trophies this season.

"Take a look at our games and you realise," Guardiola said on Rodri's comments.

"It is simple. He is so important for the quality he gives us. But if you have a player that doesn't want to play, he won't play.

"I need to rest the centre halves also but in (England's) friendly games, (John Stones and Kyle Walker) got injured so they cannot rest. We are in big, big trouble.

"I had the feeling we were tired in the last games. We will decide tomorrow what we have to do."

City's upcoming fixtures
City's upcoming fixturesFlashscore

City striker Erling Haaland tops the league's goalscoring charts with 19, and Guardiola was asked what more his prolific scorer needs to do to win the Ballon d'Or this season after he finished runner-up to Lionel Messi in 2023.

"He needs to play more minutes, to learn from what you have to do," Guardiola said. "But the target is not the Ballon d'Or, the target is to win trophies and he did. Would we have won five trophies last year without him? Not a chance.

"It's not about Erling or any other player. Until you retire, you can (always) be better."

City edged 18th-placed Luton Town 2-1 at Kenilworth Road in December but dispatched the struggling side from the FA Cup with a 6-2 fifth-round rout in February.

Following their Champions League quarter-final second leg on Wednesday at the Etihad Stadium, City travel to Wembley three days later to face Chelsea in their FA Cup semi-final.

Follow City's match with Luton on Flashscore.

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