Harry Kane looking to add to his impressive goal tally
MANCHESTER CITY will be without Sergio Aguero for their Premier League trip to Tottenham Hotspur today as they try to get back on track after three consecutive defeats.
City missed the chance of sealing the league title when they lost to Manchester United 3-2 at home last week, either side of defeats by Liverpool in the Champions League.
Victory over in-form Spurs at Wembley and a United loss to bottom club West Bromwich Albion tomorrow would allow Pep Guardiola’s side to start celebrating.
But City have injury problems, not least with leading scorer Aguero out, according to Guardiola.
“Hopefully he will be ready for the last games and World Cup,” Guardiola said of the Argentine, who was injured in a tackle by United’s Ashley Young that could have resulted in a penalty.
“Fernandinho is suspended, John Stones is not ready, (Benjamin) Mendy is out. We have 13 or 14 players for the next game plus the kids.”
The Spaniard added that a trip to play fourth-placed Tottenham, who are unbeaten in the league since losing at City in mid-December, will be a stern test for his side.
“The league is played over a lot of games and we need five points from six games,” he said.
“The first option to take points is tomorrow, one of the toughest games we have.
“Tottenham is a fantastic team, they have great pressure. They have been playing great with a lot of success in the last two, three seasons and are in the semi-final of the FA Cup.
“It is going to be a difficult game for us.”
● Pep Guardiola has been charged with improper conduct after being sent to the stands in Tuesday’s 2-1 Champions League defeat by Liverpool.
Guardiola protested about forward Leroy Sane’s disallowed goal at the end of the first half in the quarter-final second leg and was dismissed by referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz.
The Spanish manager was charged for communicating with the team’s technical staff in the second half according to Article 69(1) of Uefa’s Disciplinary Regulations.
Uefa also charged Liverpool after their fans set off fireworks and threw objects inside the Etihad Stadium.
The case will be heard by Uefa’s Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body on May 31.
● Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino believes the race for a top-four finish in the Premier League is far from over and has warned his players not to underestimate opponents in the final stretch of the season.
Tottenham currently occupy fourth place with 67 points, 10 points ahead of near- est challengers Chelsea, and the ambitious London club are on course to bring Champions League soccer to their new stadium next season.
Pochettino, however, said his team could not afford to step off the gas yet and must look to secure three points against misfiring leaders City at home today.
“In football, until you have achieved what you want, it is never over,” Pochettino told a news conference.
“I think we need to keep pushing, winning games, massive three points against Manchester City. There is still a lot of work to do until the end. You cannot underestimate clubs like Chelsea and Arsenal.”
Tottenham striker Harry Kane is looking to add to his goal tally as he chases a third straight golden boot award. The 24-year-old is on 25 league goals, four behind Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah in the race to finish as the league’s top scorer.
Kane was awarded the winning goal from last weekend’s 2-1 win over Stoke City following an appeal but Pochettino said such details did not matter to him as long as the club is winning.
“For me, I don’t care who scores the goals. I care about the three points but it was a club decision to appeal.”
● Manchester United cannot step off the gas following last weekend’s derby win over Manchester City and must ensure they get the points required to secure second place, manager Jose Mourinho said yesterday.
United rode on a sublime second-half performance by French midfielder Paul Pogba to seal a memorable 3-2 victory at the Etihad Stadium but Mourinho said subsequent training sessions were spent in getting his players to move on from that win.
“During the week I was trying to fight that result by working hard, trying to make the players understand that it is not enough to deserve to finish second,” the Portuguese told a news conference ahead of tomorow's game against West Bromwich.
“We need the points to finish second... obviously to finish fourth, we need four or five points, but to finish second we need much more than that,” Mourinho added.
Basement side West Brom have 21 points from 33 games and have lost eight of their last 10 matches but Mourinho said United had to remain cautious with their opponents desperate to secure points in a bid to ensure top-flight survival.
“They still smell a chance... it’s a big challenge because in football they know anything is possible until mathematically it is impossible,” he said.
United have 71 points from 32 matches, four ahead of third- placed Liverpool who have played one more game. – Reuters