Burnley - Pep Guardiola had barely savoured Manchester
City's 2-1 victory at Burnley before he was considering preparations for a more
sumptuous Premier League feast against pacesetters Chelsea.
The former Barcelona manager, still adapting to life in the
English fast lane, will have a whole week to get ready for the Etihad Stadium
clash that will pit together two likely title contenders.
That will seem almost luxurious after eight days that
encompassed demanding games at Crystal Palace and Burnley -- both won -- either
side of a 1-1 Champions League draw at Borussia Moenchengladbach.
"We are going to be playing against the best team in
the Premier League. They have been amazing over the past five or six
weeks," said City manager Guardiola after Saturday's victory at Turf Moor.
"We will try to discover the secret of how we can beat
them and we have six or seven days to prepare. Most of the players are
While City have won six of their seven away games in the
league this season, their home form has stuttered and the win at Burnley
completed back-to-back league victories for the first time since September.
Guardiola had reason once more to be grateful to Sergio
Aguero, the prolific City striker who he has criticised over his work-rate and
who has yet to sign the new contract that has been long in the offing.
Also read: Guardiola happy to avoid Bayern in last 16
The Argentina forward came up with the goals at Burnley that
rescued three points for City after they had fallen behind to a rare strike
from midfielder Dean Marney, his first top-flight goal in seven years.
Aguero raised his current remarkable strike rate to 33 goals
in 34 Premier League appearances despite a foot injury that had made him a
doubt even on the morning of the game.
"He said, 'I have pain, but I can play,'"
Guardiola said afterwards.
Aguero's predatory nature ensured that City go into their
toughest month of the season with a win.
The Chelsea game next Saturday will be followed by matches
against Arsenal and Liverpool before December is out, as well as a visit to
defending champions Leicester City.
- 'Beautiful goals' -
Aguero's scrappy 37th-minute equaliser was plundered from
close range after Burnley failed to clear a corner.
His second went in off his knee at the near post after
Fernandinho produced a superb pull-back following a pinball sequence in the
"Beautiful goals," joked Guardiola, whose side sit
third in the table, a point behind leaders Chelsea.
It was harsh reward for some good goalkeeping by Paul
Robinson, the 37-year-old former Tottenham Hotspur and England player.
He had been called into Premier League action for the first
time since 2012 after Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton, the current England squad
player, damaged a calf in training.
"He's as lean and fit as he's ever been and he has a
calmness to him," said Sean Dyche, the Burnley manager. "Age goes out
of the window when you are performing like that."
Dyche, who engineered a deserved win over Liverpool earlier
in the season, admitted Burnley's plan had been to make life "as awkward
and tough as possible".
"I'll be amazed if they are not up amongst it at the
end of the season," he said of City.
Guardiola can look ahead with no new injuries to worry
about, after confirming that Raheem Sterling's withdrawal at Burnley was
The subdued England winger had been the target of home fans,
who chanted: "You've let your country down!"
Guardiola said: "He is an England player and a really
nice guy. I like supporters who support their teams."For
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