High-flying Manchester City won't take 'exceptional' Leicester lightly

Pep Guardiola's team, who have won their last eight league games, take on the Foxes on Sunday

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is expecting a challenging fixture against Leicester despite their loss of form.

FA Cup-holders Leicester have won just six of their last 16 league matches , while champions City have won their last eight league games to go three points clear at the top of the table ahead of Sunday's match at home to Leicester.

Guardiola said: "Leicester remain Leicester. For me, they have a top-quality manager, absolutely, with exceptional players in all departments.

"But sometimes, in seasons, there are periods of highs and lows. Maybe we are used to seeing Leicester up there all the time."

Guardiola lauded the set-up of manager Brendan Rodgers, adding : "Hats off to how well this club works in many senses - recruitment of players, adapting and adjusting to many situations - but sometimes there are periods that they are not consistent all the time.

"It happens but from one game to one game, when you see the quality they have, everything can happen. I give the same value to them and the same credit because, when you see quality they have, starting from the keeper and finishing with (Jamie) Vardy, they are exceptional."

Sunday's match will be Leicester's first league outing since thrashing Newcastle 4-0 on December 12 after fixtures against Tottenham and Everton were postponed due to Covid-19. They returned to action in the League Cup but were beaten by Liverpool.

Earlier, Guardiola had stated that he is not against the idea of playing games over the holiday period but thinks the fixture list needs to be slimmed down.

He said: "The tradition of Boxing Day in the Premier League is massively important. It is one of the characteristics, it is why the Premier League is special. This is not going to be changed.

"I would love to play in this period with lots of games. It is tradition from centuries ago. Boxing Day was so nice for families to go to the stadiums. I can imagine January 1 in London - Arsenal v Man City - it will be so nice.

"The problem is the fixtures. The calendar, 365 days a year with international duties for the national team, huge competitions with a lot of games. The players have two or three weeks of holiday in the summer and it's the season again. This is too much."

Updated: December 24, 2021, 12:02 PM