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The Argentine striker has not featured for City since March 4 after suffering a knee injury in training. "Today, before the game, I will not", Guardiola said to reporters, initially unwilling to discuss the matter.

Following City's 3-0 humbling by Liverpool in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday, Jose Mourinho's side will be hoping to inflict a second successive defeat on Pep Guardiola's men this week.

The Catalan boss faces a conundrum before this fixture, safe in the knowledge that his opposite number Mourinho would like nothing more than to wreak havoc on City's season. "He is 21 years old".

Pep Guardiola's side could keep consecutive Premier League clean sheets at home for the first time since September (in 5-0 wins against both Liverpool and Crystal Palace). You have to live these situations, once, twice or three times to become better players. Could there be any better feeling if you're from the blue half of Manchester.

'I never speak with him (Raiola) so his influence on my opinion, so I don't know maybe Ibra explain many things about me. "Nobody believes we will go through".

It would open up a 19-point gap between the two Manchester clubs and leave City on course to set a new record for the largest ever title-winning margin, now held by United's 1999-2000 team, who won the league by 18 points.

"It's another game", said the Spaniard.

You have to go back 49 encounters to 1978 to find the previous eight United defeats against City. "We don't have the money enough to buy Pogba because he is so expensive". With 27 wins so far, they can also beat Chelsea's high of 30 victories set last season. It's nearly done. It's a bit like Liverpool - it's nearly done.

"We are close to being champions", he said in his press conference on Friday.

They could win 28 top-flight games in a single season for only the second time in their history - the previous occasion was the famous 3-2 victory against QPR on the final day of the 2011-12 campaign. "We are not because City has a very good number of points that makes it very hard". "Of course we are going to try, we will have our chance to be in the game and to try and go through". I'm a bad guy, so he has to protect his players, so he has to know he can not bring his players to a guy like me, like a dog. They will have lost a lot of confidence from that Liverpool loss - no shot on target in 90 minutes, the way they've been playing. "The door is nearly closed but a little bit open and maybe there is some space for us to get in".

"We'll think about the Champions League immediately after Manchester United, ' he said".