Pep Guardiola faced the media on Monday afternoon, as Manchester City prepare for a hectic three Premier League games in the space of six days. The Blues are fresh from possibly their most impressive performance of the season, beating Leicester City 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Here’s the main talking points from the boss…
The first update from Guardiola is that both David Silva and John Stones are NOT ready to face Wolves, as they continue to recover from their own personal injuries. Sergio Aguero, who appeared briefly on Saturday, is back available, but not ready to start the game. Kevin De Bruyne is also 100% fit and came off with ‘cramp’.
Guardiola on Wolves
Manchester City were stunned back at the start of October, when Wolves came to the Etihad and convincingly won 2-0, and Pep Guardiola knows the quality Nuno Espirito Santo’s side can bring. The Catalan boss believes they’re one of the toughest opponents in the Premier League:
“They are always one of the toughest opponents. Nuno is doing an incredible job. It is one of the toughest opponents at home but away as well. Hopefully we can maintain the good level we have had in the last few weeks.”
The best way is to think about the next game. We’ll see, I don’t think about which players are going to play. Youth have to think about Sheffield United, it’s only 48 hours.”
Guardiola on recent incidents of racism
Yesterday in the London derby, there was another incident of racial abuse. Antonio Rudiger was targeted by a section of Tottenham supporters, and the Manchester City manager was asked whether it’s an issue we can get rid of all together:
“A problem that happened for decades, centuries. It is more visible because the media is closer. It happens for a long time, you have to fight, be strict to avoid the problems. I don’t think it will be completely eradicated.
“You have to battle day by day – it’s not about one club. Every game, every week, every day, you have to fight, in the schools, the families to do better in the future generations. It is a battle day by day and we support that.”
How does Pep sum up his time at Manchester City so far
Guardiola was asked about his time so far in Manchester, and whether the vision he had when he started in the North-West was coming to fruition.
“It’s good. We’re working with the same people. Players change but I didn’t expect much. I was curious to see if we could survive in the Premier League but I came with my family, the friends are the same...
I know people at the club, I know more about the competition than before. I tried to settle quick and do the job.”
Pep to stay beyond 2021?
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City contract runs out at the end of next season; and questions are constantly asked whether the boss would consider extending his current deal. Here’s his current state of mind:
“This is my fourth season, next season will be the fifth – I’ll try to stay next season. It is a long time. I have answered this question recently many times, I am incredibly good here. I have to see if I deserve a new contract…
The level has increased a lot and expectations are higher and we have to see if we can handle it. It is not just up to me. Now we have a break with the family and prepare for Wolves and the rest. We have time to think about it in the future.”
The players need rest
The non-stop Christmas schedule means Manchester City play three games in the space of six days, with a squad already hampered by injury. Guardiola has always been a big advocate of more recovery time for players around this period, to make sure their fitness levels are good and that they are at no risk of injury. Here’s what he’s had to say on the matter:
“What I know is that less than 48 hours is not the perfect time. Christmas time is what it is in this country and we adapt – no problem.”
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