Pep Guardiola is confident Sunday’s Carabao Cup success will not affect his players’ focus as they return to Premier League action.
The runaway leaders switch their attention back to the title race for the first time in almost three weeks as they travel to Arsenal tonight for a rearranged game.
City overpowered the Gunners to win at Wembley at the weekend, securing their first trophy under Guardiola, but the Spaniard insists celebrations are done and players are concentrating on business once again.
“To win more trophies is to win another game,” said Guardiola, whose side will bid to restore a 16-point lead at the top at the Emirates Stadium. “In football, always forget what you have done, good or bad, and think in the next one.
“The fact we are fighting for the most important title of the season by far, the Premier League — more than the Champions League, more than the FA Cup, more than the Carabao Cup — is enough argument to focus and stay focused.
“Our next six fixtures are terrible in terms of the quality of the opponents. We have four (away) games and of course we have a good position but it is not already done. We have still to win five games, six games.
“When you think Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, (Manchester) United, and our away games at Stoke City, who are playing (to avoid) relegation, and Goodison Park, where always it is so tough, we have a lot of tough games still to play and we have to remain focused.”
Arsenal were heavily criticised after their lacklustre showing at Wembley, where they were outplayed and lost 3-0 to City.
Guardiola claims that will have little bearing on tonight’s encounter. “Arsenal is always a hard game and when they play, they are a tough, tough, tough team at the Emirates.
“Maybe they were not consistent enough but at home they are so strong. I don’t know how many points they dropped but not too much. The times I have always been there with Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Manchester City have always been tough.”
City will be without midfielder Fernandinho, who suffered a hamstring injury at Wembley, and forward Raheem Sterling is again doubtful with a muscle problem.
Fernandinho’s absence could present an opportunity for Yaya Toure to return to the fray ahead of his expected departure from the club this summer.
Toure, 34, has featured just 11 times this season and has not been in a matchday squad for the past four games.
Asked about the possibility of Toure being involved, Guardiola said: “It depends on him. It is simple like that. If he is coming back who he is, he is going to play.”
Left-back Fabian Delph serves the second match of a three-game suspension while Benjamin Mendy (knee) is a long-term absentee.
Arsene Wenger’s hopes of exacting some sort of revenge against City on Thursday have been further hit by the news Nacho Monreal will miss the game through injury.
The 32-year-old defender has been one of Arsenal’s best performers this season before a back injury forced him off less than 30 minutes into Sunday’s final.
Meanwhile, Guardiola is preparing to write to the Football Association explaining his decision to continue wearing a yellow ribbon.
He is facing an FA charge of “wearing a political message” for sporting the symbol on his clothing in support of imprisoned Catalan politicians in recent months.
The governing body considers the matter a potential breach of its kit and advertising regulations and has given the 47-year-old until Monday to respond.
Guardiola said after Sunday’s Carabao Cup final win over Arsenal at Wembley that he would continue wearing it because he “is a human being before a manager” and he will make his reasons clear.
Catalonia-born Guardiola said: “Of course I am going to write a letter and I am going to explain our position. I am available for the FA, absolutely, so it is no problem.”
Guardiola is one of Catalonia’s highest-profile sportsmen having captained and managed Barcelona.
He started wearing the ribbon after two political leaders were imprisoned following the region’s independence referendum in October, which was declared illegal by Spain.
The FA prohibits the displaying of political messages by club officials on the touchline and twice warned Guardiola before issuing the formal charge last week.
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