Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola insists West Brom will not give his side a comfortable passage towards Champions League qualification when the teams do battle at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.
City require four points from their remaining two Premier League matches against the Baggies and Watford to guarantee a place in Europe’s elite club competition next term.
Fourth-placed City, who trail Liverpool by a point but have a game in hand, hold a three-point advantage over Arsenal in fifth, so victory over West Brom would be priceless in their quest for a top-four finish. Guardiola, however, is not expecting an easy ride.
“They are professional, they will play to win,” said Guardiola. “I don’t think a Tony Pulis team, with his history at Stoke and now West Brom, will play a game thinking it doesn’t matter.
“We are still playing for a lot of things and it’s a real final for us and we are going to be ready to play the game. We played two finals against Crystal Palace and Leicester, we have two more and hopefully the players are focused and committed.”
Guardiola, meanwhile, has fanned the flames of reports linking City with a £30m summer move for 18-year-old AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, who has 12 months remaining on his San Siro contract.
“He is a top goalkeeper, definitely,” added the Spaniard. “He has huge skill for 19 [sic], but I like a lot of goalkeepers.”
City have struggled in the goalkeeping department this season. With England’s Joe Hart on loan at Torino, Guardiola has interchanged between much-maligned Chile stopper Claudio Bravo and Willy Caballero.