Attentions turn to the FA Cup this weekend, and the current holders’ first test is welcoming Port Vale to the Etihad Stadium. The Blues are fresh off the back of a cagey 2-1 win against a new-look Everton side, where Gabriel Jesus’ brace was enough to see off the opposition.
The boss faced the media before this one and here are the main talking points…
Aymeric Laporte Update!
Pep Guardiola confirms that the much-missed Aymeric Laporte has began to train ’10 to 15 minutes’ with the team and is slowly working his way back to full fitness. The manager also confirms that he will be taking part in full sessions from next week. The Catalan boss said:
“I think he will dictate how he feels, he nas been out for four months and needs time so it is not like he can immediately play 90 minutes. What is important is he has not had any setbacks during his time out and that is incredibly good.”
Fernandinho new contract
Guardiola has stated today that he’s ‘confident‘ that long-term servant Fernandinho will sign a new contract at Manchester City. The Brazilian has one year left on his current deal and Riyad Mahrez let slip last week that it might be his final season in a blue shirt. But Guardiola believes Txiki Begiristain is the man who’s dealing with the situation:
“It’s a Txiki issue, it’s not my issue. Of course [I’d like him to stay]. I’m delighted with our three and a half years together. He is one of the greatest players the club has ever had in it’s whole history.‘
He was also asked whether a move back into midfield is possible:
“Right now I don’t think so – especially when we have just one or two central defenders – we didn’t have many other options. His desire to do it well is incredible.”
Pep missing Mikel?
It’s been a few weeks now since Mikel Arteta left Manchester City to take up the top managerial role at Arsenal, and Pep was asked whether he’s had to adjust his approach in training and ahead of games:
“We have already adjusted our routine. Now he is the manager of Arsenal.”
Updates on Otamendi and Ederson
Both Nicolas Otamendi and Ederson missed the game against Everton and Guardiola has confirmed both are ‘getting better’, but the latter is unavailable for selection this weekend. Ederson has been training with the team in the past couple of days and is back available after illness.
Pep on the FA Cup
The first round of the FA Cup pitches us against League Two side Port Vale. A day which will be truly memorable for their fans, as 8,000 make the trip to the Etihad Stadium. Pep Guardiola, as usual, is taking this competition very seriously:
“It’s a knockout game, anything can happen. The schedule has been incredible, to not have to travel and play at home will be a big advantage. I’ve said many times we try to take every competition seriously.
Port Vale will be more than welcome. It’s nice. That’s why this country is the best. All competitions, all leagues, they support their own clubs. This afternoon I will see more games of them. Then we will decide how we play.”
Guardiola on Garcia
One major talking point from this tough winter period has been the emergence of young Eric Garcia at centre-back. The Spaniard has throughly impressed amongst the City fanbase and Guardiola was asked about what quality he brings:
“He doesn’t make mistakes. He’s so clever, and he’s intelligent in his movements. It’s not easy playing on the left side because he’s right-footed. I’m not a nice guy, I would give an opportunity for him to play on the right side…
He sees things so well. He’s a guy that doesn’t make mistakes. He’s intelligent. He’s helped us in this period with a lot of problems!”
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