Guardiola not expecting to face weakened Fulham in FA Cup

first_imgPep Guardiola is expecting to face a strong Fulham side in the FA Cup this weekend.The Cottagers, who are in contention for immediate promotion back to the Premier League, face Guardiola’s Manchester City in the fourth round at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.Returning to the top flight will be manager Scott Parker’s top priority but City manager Guardiola does not think they will make many changes or ease up for the tie.He said: “I don’t think so because their next game is in six or seven days.“If they had a game after two or three days, maybe, but I don’t think so. I think he will put into the game the best team as possible.“When a team is third in the Championship it is because they have something.“They are a team that want to play and they are a team with personality. We have spoken about that with the team and hopefully we can be ready because it is a final.“The FA Cup is an important competition, it’s a traditional competition and we have to try to do our best.”Holders City could make changes, however, as Guardiola looks to keep his big guns relatively fresh for the second leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final against Manchester United next Wednesday.Guardiola has close to a fully-fit squad available following Aymeric Laporte’s return from a near five-month lay-off at Sheffield United in midweek.Guardiola said: “When the team is fit it doesn’t matter who plays, the selection will be good.“It is not about this one (player) or another one. Always when I put out a team they have the responsibility to try to win the game. It doesn’t matter what my selection is.”Fulham, relegated last season, were third in the Championship heading into the weekend and their style of play under Parker has drawn comparisons to Guardiola’s City.Guardiola said: “What I’ve seen is they’re a really good team. I like the way they play and their results speak for themselves.“It’s not easy being relegated and the year after being there. I think it speaks quite well about the manager and the team.”last_img read more

‘Really good’ performance against Manchester United to kick-start Sunderland’s season?

first_img1 Sam Allardyce was thrilled Sunderland’s performance and result in the 2-1 victory over Manchester United.January signings Lamine Kone and Wahbi Khazri made a ‘massive contribution’ as they were on the score sheet, in a game which Allardyce hopes will lift his side’s ‘confidence brilliantly’.Louis van Gaal’s United started dreadfully at the Stadium of Light and fell behind to Khazri’s third-minute free-kick, which travelled across a crowded penalty area without anyone making contact and crept inside David de Gea’s far post.Anthony Martial’s deft 39th-minute finish got the visitors back on level terms – but they were second-best after the break and were undone when De Gea could only help defender Kone’s powerful downward header into his own net.“It was a really good performance today with the right result,” Allardyce said.“Everybody that produced and played on that field deserves a lot of credit today for the way they have managed Manchester United and how often we have taken the game to them and created lots of chances to win this game – and finally got the goal that did win it from Lamine.“Our new players have made a massive contribution since they have been here, but nothing bigger than today with Wahbi’s goal from the free-kick and then his corner and Lamine scoring the winner for us.“That hopefully will bode well for the rest of the season.”Allardyce and his players will now jet off to a warm weather training camp in Dubai with their survival hopes rekindled.It gives Billy Jones, Younes Kaboul, Sebastian Larsson, Jeremain Lens and Duncan Watmore, who all missed this game through injury – and Jermain Defoe, who passed a late fitness test, time to recover.He said: “With a result as big as this one, I hope it lifts their confidence brilliantly for the big push to try to get out of the trouble that we are in.” Sam Allardyce last_img read more