Why Manchester City's Pep Guardiola treated Sheffield Wednesday tie as a 'final'

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola treated the FA Cup fifth round tie with Sheffield Wednesday as a ‘final’ because he says his side can no longer win the Premier League.
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Guardiola, whose side are 22 points behind runaway leaders Liverpool in the top flight, made clear his intention when he named a starting 11 packed with stellar names like match-winner Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Gabriel Jesus.

As for the bench, well it was as strong as you’ll find anywhere in world football and boasted talent such as Raheem Sterling, Ederson and Fernandinho as the Catalan tweaked a squad fresh from its Carabao Cup triumph on Sunday and one which won the domestic quadruple last season.

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Unsurprisingly, therefore, you could have forgiven those Owls supporters taking their seats in the stands and in the concourses of Hillsborough for fearing the worst when news of the City side filtered through an hour before kick-off, especially set against the backdrop of their own team struggling so desperately for form since Christmas.

But fast-forward 90 minutes and those same fans were giving their team a generous hand after witnessing a battling and resolute performance against City’s superstars.

As for Guardiola, he had come into the game treating it like any other despite Wednesday’s decline in recent times.

“It’s the FA Cup,” he said. “The league we cannot win it.

“We have the FA Cup and Champions League so we knew it was a final, we prepared for that.

“We talked a lot about this game and at the end we had success.”