Pep Guardiola says the forthcoming festive period was on his mind as he made five changes to his side against Bournemouth.
City managed to grind out a 3-1 win against the Cherries and did it without Sergio Aguero, who was not in the matchday squad at all, while David Silva came on as a second-half substitute.
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“Doctors, physios, instinct, what I see, many reasons,” Guardiola said about those who did not play. “If you ask me why Sergio don’t play, David don’t play, I will tell you each one. You finish Boxing Day and January is tougher and February again.”
City can now focus on preparing for Watford on Tuesday night while their rivals face difficult matches today, with Liverpool playing Everton in the Merseyside derby while Arsenal and Tottenham meet in north London.
“I think it is too early to see how decisive it is,” Guardiola said of City’s advantage. “We didn’t finish (this round) but we played today and tomorrow both or one of Arsenal and Tottenham will drop points.
“We will prepare for the game at Watford and watch the games. Our success in the last 15 months is (because) we don’t care too much about the other sides. Always I tell them, expect the best from the other sides, expect that Liverpool will drop minimum points, so we have to win games.”