EPL

Pep Guardiola sets his sights on Real Madrid after Manchester City humble Luton

By Sports Desk April 13, 2024

Pep Guardiola immediately turned his attention to the challenge of Real Madrid after his Manchester City side thrashed Luton 5-1 on Saturday.

City enjoyed the perfect preparation for Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final second leg against the Spanish giants as they cruised past the Hatters in a one-sided encounter.

An early own goal from Daiki Hashioka set them on their way before second-half strikes from Mateo Kovacic, Erling Haaland, Jeremy Doku and Josko Gvardiol wrapped up a comfortable win.

With the three points taking City back to the Premier League summit, putting pressure on rivals Arsenal and Liverpool ahead of Sunday’s fixtures, Guardiola could switch his focus to Real.

“The team is alive,” said the City boss, whose side played out a pulsating 3-3 draw with Real last Tuesday.

“It’s difficult against Real Madrid but, at the same time, let’s try and go to do it with our people.

“Whatever happens, we will give everything. There is not one minute when we won’t know what to do.

“We have all our desire to do it. I want the Etihad full, no seat empty.”

City are chasing an unprecedented second successive treble.

Guardiola said: “We have to admit it, what a privilege, still fighting for the Premier League, playing against Real Madrid with a chance to qualify for the semi-final, and the FA Cup next Saturday, a semi-final again.”

Although City won comfortably, Guardiola felt Luton had made things difficult.

He said: “It was really hard until the second goal.

“We played really good and had a lot of chances in the first half but we missed something in the finishing.

“How many times have I seen in world football that a team is better and doesn’t win the game? Many times. We know how difficult Luton are.”

Hatters boss Rob Edwards conceded he had not expected his relegation battlers to get anything from the game.

He said: “It was always going to be difficult. Without sounding very defeatist, I almost made peace with it.

“They were the dominant team, they were amazing, but we stayed in the game as long as we could. It’s tough but today was never going to derail us.”

Edwards bemoaned his side’s luck in conceding so early, with the own goal coming as a Haaland shot cannoned into the net off Hashioka’s head.

He said: “We wanted to try to be aggressive but then Haaland knocks out Hashy with the first goal – one of the few defenders we have left knocked out on the floor and we’re 1-0 down after a minute.

“What a start that is, that’s tough.”

Hashioka required treatment before continuing but Edwards later clarified he had not actually been knocked unconscious.

He said: “No, he was just lying flat. I was just saying that in jest. I was just worried that he was.

“He just got up and I thought, ‘thank goodness for that’. Otherwise we would have been putting a centre forward at centre-back.”

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