• “The schedule can get you depressed as it’s too many games,” Guardiola told a news conference.
• Meanwhile, Ashley Barnes struck a 52nd-minute equaliser as Burnley frustrated Fulham’s hopes of back-to-back Premier League wins in a 1-1 draw at Turf Moor on Wednesday.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said it would be easy to feel overwhelmed by the packed fixture schedule but called on his players to embrace the “beautiful challenge” as they compete for four trophies.
City moved a step closer to a third Premier League title in four seasons on Wednesday after their 3-1 over Everton put them 10 points clear.
They remain on course for four trophies this season, and next visit Arsenal in the league on Sunday before resuming their Champions League campaign with the first leg of their last-16 tie against Borussia Moenchengladbach on Feb. 24.
“The schedule can get you depressed as it’s too many games,” Guardiola told a news conference. “The guys need rest but at the same time it is a beautiful challenge.
“We don’t look at the calendar, just the next one — Arsenal after a few days, we then travel to UCL (Champions League), then West Ham (United), Wolves, (Manchester) United, non-stop.”
City’s win at Everton was their 17th consecutive victory in all competitions. Guardiola, who was without in-form midfielder Ilkay Gundogan on Wednesday due to a groin injury, said he would need to call upon his whole squad to maintain the challenge on all four fronts.
“If we want to win titles, we’re going to need the entire squad. What pleased me today was the solidarity even from the guys who didn’t play,” Guardiola added.
“From Benjamin (Mendy) in the stands, from John (Stones) and Alex (Oleksandr Zinchenko). Everyone is a part of this.”
Meanwhile, Ashley Barnes struck a 52nd-minute equaliser as Burnley frustrated Fulham’s hopes of back-to-back Premier League wins in a 1-1 draw at Turf Moor on Wednesday.
Fulham are 18th in the table on 19 points, six behind Newcastle United who occupy the final place above the relegation zone. Burnley moved up to 15th place, eight points above Fulham.
Scott Parker’s team, boosted by Sunday’s 2-0 win at Everton, had grabbed the lead in fortunate fashion when Ademola Lookman’s corner struck the chest of Ola Aina and Burnley substitute Robbie Brady missed the ball on the line.
Within three minutes, however, Burnley had drawn level when Jay Rodriguez broke down the right flank and slipped a perfect pass to Barnes who, despite a poor first touch, converted the chance.
The league table will be comforting for Burnley but they will be disappointed not to have taken maximum points from a home game against a team below them. Burnley were without skipper Ben Mee due to a concussion picked up in Saturday’s 3-0 win at Crystal Palace and lost winger Johann Berg Gudmundsson to injury before the break and his substitute Brady had to be replaced in the second half.
“I think the most pleasing thing is the response of this group generally. We have had so many injuries and I’ve never seen anything like it,” said manager Sean Dyche. “But the players have just kept on going and I can’t credit them enough for that. We showed great mentality to come back and we will take the point.”
Fulham boss Scott Parker was satisfied to have picked up a point and extended their unbeaten away run to six matches.
“It was a tough battle, a well earned point in the end. They are a well organised team who constantly put you under pressure and I thought we dealt with that well. We needed to hold on to that lead a bit longer and we couldn’t do that,” he said.