Men's Team

Guardiola: Top spot with a game to spare is biggest compliment to players

Guardiola: Top spot with a game to spare is biggest compliment to players
Pep Guardiola hailed City's 'exceptional' Champions League form so far that has guaranteed top spot in Group G with one match remaining.

The Blues have won three and drawn two of our five matches so far, ensuring we will be seeded in November's Round of 16 draw.

And with three Premier League matches plus the Carabao Cup tie against Chelsea as well as the final group game with Sevilla to come before the World Cup, Guardiola is delighted to have done the hard work in Europe early.

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"When you qualify with one game left, it is the biggest compliment to the team," he said.

"We make an exceptional group stage - every game we played, we did really well.

"We will play Sevilla, with fresh people who didn’t play regularly and the same in the Carabao Cup and focus in the Premier League on these three finals we have - Leicester away, then Fulham and Brentford and after, as everyone knows, the World Cup.

"The most important thing is when we come back from the World Cup and the Champions League is back we will be there with the most important clubs in Europe."

Joao Cancelo played 45 minutes in the goalless draw in Germany before he was withdrawn at half-time.

Cancelo has again been one of Guardiola's most used players this season but has suffered with fever since Saturday's Premier League victory over Brighton.

With Kyle Walker injured, Sergio Gomez suspended and John Stones still working towards full fitness following his return from injury, Guardiola felt he had to select the full-back on Tuesday night.

"Today we were exhausted, the game against Brighton drained us a lot - it was demanding, man to man, it was physically so demanding," he said.

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"Joao with fever made an incredible effort. I want to say thank you to Joao because we don't have Sergio or Kyle and John made an effort to come back.

"I appreciate what they have done and Julian made an incredible effort defensively. It was so difficult for him but in general, especially in the second half, we did a good performance."

Erling Haaland was also removed at half-time, and Guardiola explained why in his post-match press conference.

"Three things: I saw him so tired," he started.

"Second one, he had a little bit of influenza in his body. Like Joao - Joao had a fever.

"Then the third, he had a knock in his foot. That’s why he was not able to play the second half."