FA Cup: Man City will suffer against League Two Newport County, says Pep Guardiola

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Manchester City were knocked out of the FA Cup in the fifth round by Wigan 12 months ago

Manchester City will “suffer” against Newport in Saturday’s FA Cup fifth-round tie, says boss Pep Guardiola.

The Premier League champions travel to south Wales knowing their opponents have already beaten Leicester and Middlesbrough in the competition.

League Two Newport have never been past the fifth round of the competition, while City are five-time winners.

“They are taller and stronger than us. In some areas they will be better than us,” warned Guardiola.

“They have done incredibly well in this competition. What they do, they do really well. We have watched many games to see what they do.”

City were knocked out of the FA Cup in the fifth round last season by Wigan Athletic, then of League One, and Guardiola said his team would learn from past experiences.

He added he would not allow his players to become complacent, despite Newport being 83 places below City in the football pyramid.

“It is the cup. We know what happened last season at Wigan,” Guardiola said. “Anything can happen. We will take this very seriously.

“Normally we play in the Premier League games and our players already know what opponents do.

“[Newport] have players who have scored 14 or 15 goals; they are incredible on the set pieces.”

City will be without the injured Vincent Kompany and Benjamin Mendy for the trip to Rodney Parade.

Guardiola apologises to Mahrez

Meanwhile, Guardiola has apologised to £60m signing Riyad Mahrez for not giving the forward enough minutes this season.

The 27-year-old Algerian, who signed from Leicester in the summer, has not started a Premier League game since the victory at Southampton on 30 December.

“I am the reason. He is absolutely not guilty,” said Guardiola. “I am sad because he is training incredibly. He is an incredibly talented player but in this moment we have five strikers.

“We have incredible players, like for example Bernardo (Silva) and Raz (Sterling) in top, top form and that is the only reason why. There’s no particular reason, like being upset or something like that.

“He is a guy we are happy with but unfortunately I am not kind with him. In fact, I cannot give him the minutes he deserves, so I’m sorry. That’s all I can say.”

Mahrez has had to make do with substitute appearances in the league and cup starts against Rotherham, Burton and Burnley in recent weeks.

But Guardiola says Mahrez’s “time is coming” and “I’m pretty sure he is going to play good”.

“I am unfair in the fact that, if he had played the minutes that the others have played, he would have been in the top level like the players who are playing,” he added.

“It’s not easy for one guy who does not play regularly to come in and play at a high, high level. Give him five or six games in a row playing and he is going to play at the level of Sterling or Bernardo, or the players who play.

“I don’t have any doubts about his quality. Just keep going, not complain too much, move forward and fight more and more.

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