Premier League English

Pep Guardiola says free-scoring Cityzens are peaking at right time as City slam Burnley for six in FA Cup

Straight-shooting Pep Guardiola is optimistic his Manchester City side are even now already beginning to hit their stride as they approach the final chapter of the season.

The champions had slipped a tad below their usual high levels of consistency this campaign but have perked up just in the nick of time to find the right touch in form over the past month and are now again firmly in contention in more than one competition before heading into the international break.

To signal their return to form, City thrashed runaway Championship leaders Burnley 6-0 on Saturday, convincingly powering their way into the FA Cup quarter-finals. This came only four days after their ruthless 7-0 demolition of RB Leipzig that comfortably ushered them into the last eight of the Champions League, even as they remain on track as the closest challengers to the Gunners in the Premier League.

To date City have won their last six matches in all competitions and remain convincingly unbeaten in 10 stretching all the way back to the first week of February.

“We are in a good moment,” said Guardiola. “Against Newcastle we were good to handle an incredible opponent, then after, Leipzig and Crystal Palace, always we suffer.

“But we scored a lot of goals and conceded few chances and were stable with everyone making contributions.

“We defended well, we are a threat in the set-pieces like never before. In the last six or seven years I never had the feeling we could score in every corner or free-kick.

“Now we stop and go to the national teams and then after we have the Reds (Liverpool). We have time to think about it, but now we know Arsenal are going to drop few points so we will have to win almost all the games.

“The rivals for the Champions League, a historical team, it is an honor to play against Bayern (Munich) and the (FA Cup) semi-final at Wembley again is an incredible honor.

“At this stage, to still be alive in three competitions is so nice, so good.”

City were unflinching as they showed absolutely no mercy to their revered former captain Vincent Kompany on the pitch as they clinically dismantled his Burnley team at the Etihad Stadium, with Erling Haaland leading the way with yet another hat-trick, his sixth of the campaign, taking his overall goal tally for the club to a mind-blowing 42 in 37 appearances.

Not to be left out, Julian Alvarez then added the slaughter with a fine brace and youngster Cole Palmer also notched one after coming off the bench.

“I have the feeling the players now know we cannot lose, otherwise it will be over,” said Guardiola.

“When you have this urgency we can mount our best. That is the reality.”