Premier League action returns this weekend with a trip to Villa Park to take on Aston Villa. In the reverse fixture, Manchester City struggled to make the breakthrough, but once they did, three quick-fire goals meant the Blues left the Etihad with a comfortable three points.
Pep Guardiola faced the media before Sunday afternoon’s clash – here’s what he had to say…
Aymeric Laporte and Kevin De Bruyne updates
Firstly, Guardiola confirmed Kevin De Bruyne is ‘fine’ after being forced off with a head injury following a collision in the Manchester Derby. Also, Aymeric Laporte is now partaking in every training session with the rest of the team, but is not ready to return to action as of yet. He said:
“He’s training every day, feels good after training and the day after he feels good, that is good news. I don’t know when he’ll be ready to play some games. He moves well on the pitch, the operation was good and we’ll wait for the doctors.”
Guardiola on Henry and Agüero comparisons
The manager was asked about the prolific Sergio Agüero, who is now tied on goals with Theirry Henry in the Premier League, and what qualities make him such an amazing striker:
“He could more goals than a legend like Henry, it’s an incredible achievement.
He’s adapted perfectly from the beginning. He’s a guy, in the box, he can score from everywhere. He’s an incredible striker.”
What’s the deal with Leroy?
Various reports this week have suggested that Leroy Sané will depart Manchester City for Bayern Munich at the end of this season. Guardiola isn’t focused on the speculation and admits the decision is purely down to the player himself:
“It’s a question for Leroy, his agents and the club, I’m not involved. Now he has to recover well, but he knows what we believe.
I want him to come back fit now, his knee looks really good, after that it’s not my business. His own future is not in my hands.”
“I was the one who convinced the club to sign him when he wasn’t playing every game at Schalke. What the players want, their families want, their own desires – it’s not in my hands.”
Guardiola says Harwood-Bellis rumours ‘NOT true’
Reports coming from the EDS’ 3-1 loss against Scunthorpe United were that Manchester City youngster Taylor Harwood-Bellis had ‘boasted’ about how much he earns compared to a Scunthorpe striker. The boss was asked about these stories and says he’s spoke to Harwood-Bellis, who claims the accusations are false:
“I know about that [the incident]. Taylor said it is not true and I believe in the guy. That’s all.”
Pep on Aston Villa and Jack Grealish
This weekends opponents are hovering around the relegation zone coming into the fixture. But Guardiola knows the quality they possess, and one player in particular, Jack Grealish, has caught his eye:
“You have to play all teams – a strong club, fantastic stadium, they changed set-up in the last games, playing five at the back, perhaps because of the big injuries. We’ll try to maintain the dynamic that we have.”
“He’s an exceptional player [Grealish], I didn’t know of him before I came here, he was playing in the Championship, he’s an exceptional player.”
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