Micah Richards fears a departure from the Champions League could ‘drop confidence’ for Manchester City in the final games of the Premier League campaign.
The reigning champions returned to the top with an emphatic 4-0 victory over Leeds United early Saturday afternoon, a key response after Liverpool beat Newcastle 1-0 earlier in the day. Yet another test awaits Pep Guardiola’s team on Wednesday night as they look to reach their second consecutive European Cup final.
They open a 4-3 lead in the semi-final return leg with Real Madrid, but with the game at the Bernabéu, the La Liga side are hoping to reverse the deficit. Liverpool also travel to Spain midweek for the second leg of the tie, with a 2-0 lead over Villarreal.
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A former City man, now a commentator, Richards expects both teams to win their remaining league games, but warns that defeat to Real Madrid on Wednesday could hurt City in the final weeks of the season.
He told Sky Sports after the match: ” You prefer to have the points on the board, of course. But we saw today, sometimes it can stimulate you. You never know, the Premier League is so unpredictable. Both teams will win all of their remaining games.
“Liverpool with their strength in depth. There could be a slip. Liverpool winning today and City today, I think they will beat them all.
“You don’t want to see Bayern Munich winning 10 times in a row. You don’t want that in the Premier League. The only thing is, if Manchester City go out in the Champions League, it could destroy confidence.
“It breaks you. That’s the only thing I see holding City back. The standards City and Liverpool are setting right now. In my opinion, two of the best teams the Premier League has ever seen.”
Liverpool return to Premier League action next Saturday when they host Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield, while City host Newcastle United at the Etihad the following day.