Man City V Hull at Etihad Stadium : Match Preview

By
07 April 2017

Pep Guardiola targets strong end to disappoint Man City campaign

Pep Guardiola has told his Manchester City side to win as many games as possible before the end of the season to try and finish a disappointing campaign on a high.

City's hopes of winning the Premier League in Guardiola's first season were already slim before their midweek loss at Chelsea left them 14 points behind the leaders.

The also under-achieved in the Champions League, failing to get beyond the last 16.

City remain in a battle for Champions League qualification places with Tottenham, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United and Everton. They could also end the season with silverware if they win the FA Cup.

Guardiola said: "Now the situation is clear. Eight games left in the league to qualify for the first four and the semi-final of the FA Cup and that is our target for the end of the season. We'll try to win as many as possible."

City host relegation battlers Hull this weekend in a clash Guardiola accepts is not straightforward.

Marco Silva has sparked a revival since taking charge at the KCOM Stadium in January and the Tigers moved out of the bottom three for the first time since October by beating Middlesbrough on Wednesday.

Guardiola said: "I know him (Silva) from the Champions League when he was a manager in Greece and I was at Bayern Munich. He's making an outstanding job - not only great results, I like the way they play.

"I liked the way they played when we were there, now they play with a lot of talent - not just long balls, a lot of quality."

City captain Vincent Kompany made his long-awaited return to the side at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

It was just a seventh appearance of another season plagued by injuries and Guardiola felt his comeback, along with that of another long-term absentee Fabian Delph, went well.

He said: "Both played good. Delph was excellent and has maybe been deserving of more minutes than he has had.

"Vincent was injured but he was ready for the last two or three weeks. I am happy, the performance was outstanding. They were out for a long time, especially Vincent."

Hull boss Silva has made clear his future will not be resolved until the end of the Premier League season.

Silva's stock has soared since he signed a six-month deal when agreeing to take on 'mission impossible' at the turn of the year, following the sacking of Mike Phelan.

Little was known then about the former Sporting Lisbon and Olympiacos coach, but he has lifted the Tigers off the bottom of the table and out of the relegation zone after winning five of his 11 league games in charge.

The 39-year-old is hot property all of a sudden, but gave little away when asked if he had spoken with the club's owners about extending his contract.

"At this moment I have a deal with our chairman and it's clear, we have only one focus - to keep the club in the Premier League," Silva said.

"Me and the players as well, and all the club, this is most important. At the end of the season we will talk, sure.

"But at this moment all of us are focusing on our goal."

Silva confirmed Harry Maguire will miss the trip to the Etihad Stadium due to a knee injury sustained against Middlesbrough in midweek.

Midfielder Tom Huddlestone serves the final game of his three-match ban and right-back Omar Elabdellaoui is still struggling with a back problem.

The Tigers' only league win on the road was at Swansea in August, but they will head to the Etihad full of confidence after winning three of their last four matches.


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