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Mindset of managers key in the pursuit of glory, says David James

Pep Guardiola (right) and Jurgen Klopp are hoping for multiple honours this season (Martin Rickett/PA)
Pep Guardiola (right) and Jurgen Klopp are hoping for multiple honours this season (Martin Rickett/PA)

David James believes the mindset of rival managers Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp is key to their respective bids for multiple major honours this season.

Manchester City hold a one-point advantage over Liverpool in the race for the Premier League title after last Sunday’s crunch clash ended 2-2 at the Etihad Stadium.

The two clubs meet again on Saturday in the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley and remain on course for a Champions League final showdown in Paris next month.

Liverpool won the League Cup in February and former Reds goalkeeper James, who also spent more than two years at City, told the PA news agency: “It’s almost unprecedented what we’re looking at this season with regards to City’s treble or Liverpool’s quadruple.

“It’s easy to say they can’t do it because the chances are you’d be right, but I think with Jurgen it all depends on how he’s framing it with his team.

“If they are desperately looking for a quadruple, one result could upset that and possibly anything else going after that.

“So I think Jurgen won’t even be thinking about it as a realistic proposition, but if they win every game they get the quadruple, simple as that.”

Liverpool came through their Champions League quarter-final against Benfica after resting key players in the second leg, while City could be without Kevin De Bruyne and Kyle Walker at Wembley.

Both hobbled out of a bruising goalless draw in the return leg of their last-eight clash in Madrid against Atletico.

James, working as a UEFA technical observer at the Wanda Metropolitan Stadium on Wednesday night, said: “City had to go strong because they weren’t guaranteed to be through and Atleti were always going to play differently from the first leg.

“If City are forced to make big changes for the FA Cup on Sunday, they have got strength in depth.

Kevin De Bruyne, centre, was forced out of Wednesdya night's Champiopns League tie in Madrid in the 65th minute
Kevin De Bruyne, centre, was forced out of Wednesday night’s Champions League tie in Madrid in the 65th minute (Nick Potts/PA)

“But if De Bruyne and Kyle Walker are out, that’s two main players and all of a sudden that fundamentally changes what City have been doing in recent weeks.

“I don’t think Pep’s looking at the treble. I think he’s looking at every game as it comes as well and it might be in the FA Cup where he makes changes and that would be down to injuries.

“Given what happened last night, I think Liverpool have got everything in their favour for Saturday.

“With the doubts over KDB and Kyle Walker too, I think Liverpool have to be favourites.”

David James will be in action for England at Soccer Aid 2022
David James will be in action for England at Soccer Aid 2022 (Unicef UK/Soccer Aid handout)

James is confident City and Liverpool will overcome Real Madrid and Villarreal respectively in their Champions League semi-finals.

“I’m getting ready to book my tickets,” he said. “It’s the pinnacle for English football, I mean it’s wonderful, and as an ex-player I was lucky enough to represent both teams.

“If they get to the Champions League final in Paris, after whatever happens here in the Premier League, it will be an honour for me to be there and watch it.”

James will be back in goalkeeping action in June when he will line up for England in Soccer Aid for UNICEF at the London Stadium.

It will be his third appearance in the annual charity match and the 51-year-old added: “The first year I was involved it raised £9million and last year was a record-breaking year, £13m.

“That was astonishing, but we’re hoping we can beat that this year and will do everything we can, on and off the field, to make that happen.”

* Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2022 takes place on Sunday, June 12 at the London Stadium. A family of four can attend the game for just £60 – buy your tickets at

socceraid.org.uk/tickets

.

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