It’s the final game before the first ever Premier League winter break, and Manchester City are set to take on West Ham United at the Etihad Stadium. We last faced West Ham on the first day of the Premier League season; where a Raheem Sterling hat-trick helped the Blues to a 5-0 win.
Here’s what the boss had to say when he faced the media before this one…
Pep Guardiola offered updates on a few players who have missed the past few weeks with injury. We already knew Raheem Sterling is set to miss the game with the hamstring injury picked up in City’s 2-0 loss against Tottenham.
“It’s a hamstring injury, we will see. It takes weeks, but I don’t know right now.
It’s a problem being without him, but we were without Gundo in the first season, Laporte this season, it is what it is.”
However, Guardiola says Leroy Sané is now training with the rest of the squad:
“He’s started to train with us, he needs to recover his tempo and confidence, and not think about the injury. It’s not like an ankle or a muscular injury, it needs time. He’s training with the main group, he needs weeks.”
Guardiola also confirmed that Benjamin Mendy and John Stones are back training with the team.
Guardiola on Lionel Messi
In some quite shocking reports, footballing legend Lionel Messi has been linked with a switch to the Etihad Stadium. Pep Guardiola has had his say on the reports, and it’s really what we all expected:
“He’s a player from Barcelona. He will stay there. That is my wish. I think he will finish his career there“
Five away games in a row
After this weekends game, the Blues have five away games in a row, and Guardiola was asked about his plans for the schedule:
“Every team and every game I try to select the best team, it depends on the circumstances, but I’m going to play with 11, I have an idea but every game is completely different right now.”
Agüero a record breaker once again
Sergio Agüero is once again a record breaker; as he received his seventh player of the month award. January’s winner scored six goals and broke two records in the process. Guardiola was, as usual, full of praise for his record scorer:
“He’s one of the best in the Premier League, for every season to be there despite his injuries, he’s an exceptional player and overall an incredible person.”
Guardiola on City and Liverpool’s form
The Blues are 22 points behind league leaders Liverpool; and with City’s two years of Premier League dominance slipping away, Guardiola was asked what’s changed:
“We’re a very good team – I like the way we play this season. We cannot deny the gap is big, we didn’t expect to be 22 points behind – it’s the reality, we have to accept and learn from it, but I like Man City.
I don’t have an explanation, I’d like to but I don’t know. We’ve scored a lot of goals this season. I think we are there, we have people in the box.”
“A cycle can change – one year ago the people said we were unstoppable and nobody could beat us, we’d maintain this level for four or five years, I don’t know what will happen in the future…
We’ll prepare as well as we can to close this gap. They reduced the gap from 25 points two seasons ago, now the other teams have to do it.”
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