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Premier League side Manchester City played Stoke City without David Silva despite it being a crucial game as the battle for the top four continues.

The Spaniard has called on his team to recover from the barren game and fight for a title – they are still in contention for the FA Cup and the Champions League.

Man City are set to face Middlesbrough in the last eight on Saturday before their trip to Monaco for the return leg of the Champions Leg round of 16 clash.

Guardiola defended his decision, citing the schedule as the rationale for leaving Silva on the bench whilst leaving out Raheem Sterling from the affair entirely.

“The rotations are good when you are successful. But the competition is a lot of games. In two and a half days we have another one – away because we never play at home,” Guardiola said.

“In three or four days we have to travel to France and then we play Monaco. When you have one game a week, you can play 11 players no problem. Now the most important thing is recover and play in two competitions and try and go through,” he added.

Guardiola said he would like to play players like Fabian Delph as he rotates the squad. Their home form was called into question as many expected them to beat Stoke. The draw leaves them ten points behind log leaders Chelsea.

“Our results away are much better than at home. Maybe next season will be the opposite, you never can control that. We dropped points. You have to accept it,” the former Barcelona coach said.

It seems Guardiola is comfortable with a top four finish in the Premier League in his debut campaign whilst he tries to develop a compact side for next season. His focus would likely be to win the FA Cup and go far in the Champions League.

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