Pep Guardiola has a warning for his Manchester City players ahead of in-form Sheffield United's trip to the Etihad

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has warned his players they could be punished by Sheffield United if they allow their late loss to Wolves affect them.

Saturday, 28th December 2019, 12:34 pm

City were 2-0 up and a man down at Molineux on Friday night – goalkeeper Ederson sent off after 12 minutes – before a spirited comeback by Nuno Espirito Santo’s side and a last gasp winner from Matt Doherty condemned the champions to their fifth defeat of the season.

United travel to the Etihad unbeaten in their last four, having already impressed in their encounters with each of the so-called ‘bigger’ teams and Guardiola knows his side have a challenge on their hands on Sunday if they mope around.

He said: "For the players it hurts a lot, to lose in the last three, four, five minutes always hurts. I don't have anything to say.

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola before the Premier League match at Molineux, Wolverhampton. PA Photo. Nick Potts/PA Wire.

"We have to stay mentally strong because in less than two days we have another one (against Sheffield United).

"We are used to being at the top fighting and now we are far away. We have to adjust mentally to the situation and prepare for the next games.”

City are now 14 points behind Liverpool, with it looking inceasingly likely the Blues will be relinquishing their title to Jurgen Klopp’s men come May.

"I said many times, 'it's unrealistic to think about Liverpool. We have to think about (second-placed) Leicester',” he said. “We have a chance to recover second position. We are third and that is the situation.

"We have to move on. The first season was quite similar to now but in the second and third seasons we were there all the time and winning a lot of games.

"Now, because of some mistakes and some other situations, we are far away.”

City, who looked noticably tired towards the end of the match against Wolves will be without their first choice goalkeeper Ederson after that sending off, with Claudio Bravo expected to step in.

Wolves leapfrogged the Blades with that victory, moving into fifth with United now in seventh.