PREMIER LEAGUE

Guardiola will prioritise the Champions League, says Xavi

Manchester City trail Premier League leaders Liverpool by 14 points - a bridge too far for Pep Guardiola, who will plough his energies into the Champions League

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Pep's City will prioritise Champions League as Liverpool dominate Premier League – Xavi

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola will make winning the Champions League his number one priority as Liverpool have seemingly run away with the Premier League title, Xavi Hernández believes. City had been hoping to defend their Premier League crown this season but the team enters the New Year in third and 14 points adrift of unbeaten rivals Liverpool – who also have a game in hand, with 18 games left to play.

Amid doubts over Guardiola's long-term future in Manchester, former Barcelona star Xavi believes the Spaniard will prioritise the Champions League ahead of a blockbuster last-16 showdown against Real Madrid in February.

Premier League gap will hurt Guardiola

"Pep is a born winner," Al-Sadd coach Xavi, who played under Guardiola at Camp Nou, told The Mirror. "It will hurt him that Manchester City are so far behind Liverpool in the league - and he won't give up. He will be realistic though. The gap is a big one and at the moment it doesn't look likely that they can make it three titles in a row. With that in mind, I think there's a big chance Pep will prioritise the Champions League. They will be two big games coming up against Real Madrid - and maybe there will be a chance to rest players before these games that they wouldn't have if they were in a title race. Pep will want to win every trophy that he can - but if you'd asked him at the start of the season what he would prefer, I'm sure he would have said the Champions League. He joked with Klopp that maybe Manchester City and Liverpool should swap trophies this year - but there was some truth in that joke, I think. He's won every trophy in England with Manchester City and he knows that winning the Champions League with them would take them to the next level as a club."

City to see in 2020 against Everton

Guardiola's City will kick off the New Year with a clash against Everton at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday. Everton are unbeaten under new coach Carlo Ancelotti and lie 10th in the table, 16 points behind City.