Pep Guardiola has told his players not to look at Manchester City's forthcoming schedule but to embrace the 'beautiful challenge' after watching his side go 10 points clear at the top of the Premier League with a 3-1 win at Everton, Sky Sports reported.
Carlo Ancelotti's side did manage to lay a glove at least as Richarlison canceled out Phil Foden's opener - only the second time in the last nine league games City have failed to keep a clean sheet - but there was no denying them a 17th straight win in all competitions.
And, as they became the first English top-flight side to start a calendar year with 10 consecutive league wins in a row, it is harder to see who might deny Guardiola a third Premier League title.
City were without Ilkay Gundogan after the German midfielder sustained a groin injury during the 3-0 victory over Tottenham, but Guardiola maintained that he will need to call upon all of his players during a hectic schedule in order to battle on multiple fronts.
"If we want to win titles, we're going to need the entire squad," the City boss said. "What pleased me today was the solidarity even from the guys who didn't play. From Benjamin [Mendy] in the stands, from John [Stones] and Alex [Oleksandr Zinchenko]. Everyone is a part of this.
"Winning 10 straight games at the start of the calendar year is nice but next is Arsenal. Tonight we celebrate but tomorrow afternoon we will start to think about Arsenal. It's better you don't see the schedule, otherwise, you get depressed. But at the same time, it's a beautiful challenge. We will come back here in a few weeks to try to get to the semi-finals of the FA Cup and we've seen how hard it will be. It's not worth looking at the schedule. Just the next one, and that's Arsenal."
This match should have been played in December, postponed at short notice a little over six weeks ago due to a coronavirus outbreak within the City camp, but they look in rude health now.
Though they traveled down the M62 without the in-form Gundogan due to his groin injury, any sympathy for Guardiola lasted no longer than a glance at a substitutes bench including Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero, and Fernandinho as City near full fitness.
"Football at the highest level, you concede goals but the important thing is to keep creating chances. We reacted really well to Liverpool scoring at Anfield and we did the same thing today."