Manchester City can't use Newport pitch as excuse in FA Cup - Guardiola
MANCHESTER, England -- Pep Guardiola has said Manchester City cannot use the pitch as an excuse when they face League Two Newport County in the FA Cup fifth round. (Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET; ESPN+)
The surface at Newport's Rodney Parade stadium, also used by two rugby union clubs, has bare and muddy patches in some areas.
"We have to adapt," Guardiola told a news conference. "It is what it is, and we have to accept that challenge.
"We played in the Premier League against Tottenham when, days before, there were two NFL games. It happened in the Premier League, so why shouldn't it happen for a team in lower division?
"All of us know it will be so tough. If we expect, just because they are in a lower division, it will be easy, that would be a mistake.
"We take it seriously and we know how tough it will be from the first minute until the end."
Guardiola said he would take a strong squad to south Wales, adding that while his players were used to playing on good surfaces they would have played on inferior pitches early in their careers.
"All I can say is myself and all my players, when they were young, when they dreamed of playing, they played on these kind of pitches," he added.
"It's not the first time for them on these kind of pitches. When they were 15, 16, 17 at school and these kind of things, they played on these kind of pitches -- myself too.
"We have a strong squad, few injuries, the other ones are fit. We are going to play some of those who were in the last game, but I prepare the game to win with the best squad possible for that game."
Guardiola's side were the victims of a shock at the same stage of the FA Cup last season when they were beaten 1-0 at then-League One club Wigan Athletic.
And the City manager said he would remind his players of how tough it can be against sides from lower divisions.
"Wigan were first in League One and are now in the Championship -- they were in very good condition," he added.
"I think we played a decent game there. Sometimes you arrive in the last moment and it happens. Unfortunately we were out, but hopefully [this time] we can go through into the quarterfinals."