Manchester City welcome Marseille to the Etihad Stadium as they participate in their final Group C game in the Champions League. With the Blues already confirmed top of the group – expect changes galore from Pep Guardiola.
Here’s all the key quotes from the managers press conference…
Sergio Agüero may be back!
First order of business was a fitness update. Luckily for Pep Guardiola, everyone is available for selection – including Sergio Agüero. Here’s what he had to say:
“We will decide tomorrow. Maybe on the bench. Tomorrow we make a training session, see how his reaction in his body. Important is the last two, three days he was part of the group. The niggles he had in the past disappeared.”
“He’ll be back when he’s able to train regularly, and get minutes. The quality is there. We know him quite well, he’s working incredibly hard to come back. He needs a bit more time for his injury but we are patient. We would love to have him back but if his knee responds well he will be back. With the quality nobody has doubts about him.”
Any chance for rotation or youth players
With top of the group already confirmed, it may give Pep Guardiola the chance to rest key players and give some youngsters vital first team minutes.
“Everyone has played a lot, like I said we will play to win. I don’t rotate, I put all players in the best condition and decide the best team. There is not one team for one competition. The last few days except two/three, everyone was involved. If someone make a lot of minutes and has a lot of problems, of course we consider. Today everybody was fit.”
He also announced: “Four or five players will be in the squad tomorrow. We will play to win. It’s the best way to prepare. We have to respect Marseille and Olympiacos. We’ll play to win, the players know it.”
Advantage over United?
With Manchester United needing to avoid defeat against RB Leipzig to qualify in the Champions League, some may say Manchester City have the advantage going into the derby this weekend. Pep Guardiola however, disagrees:
“Nothing. Absolutely nothing. They will be focused, and when the next game is a derby you will be focused. I speak from experience.”
“I don’t rest players. I don’t say this player don’t play because I’m thinking of other ones. Against Porto we played to qualify and we were awesome. The team that will play tomorrow can play against Man Utd.”
“I want to win tomorrow, it’s not about the match or one more day or one less game. After Thursday, Friday we start to think against United.”
‘City need Fernandinho’
Pep Guardiola was once again asked about Fernandinho, with the Brazilian’s contract entering it’s final six months. The manager reiterated his importance to the squad for the rest of the season:
“He’s a part of the team, he’s back from injury. He played awesome against Porto. He’s struggling to play three games a week – he’s not like four years ago. He trains so good, our captain, we’ll need it for tomorrow, for Saturday.”
Pep on Foden
It feels like every week Phil Foden is mentioned to Guardiola in some way, shape or form – and the same answer was given to reporters:
“He has the quality in the #UCL, #PL, Carabao Cup. He played against Madrid but not Lyon. He doesn’t play all the UCL games – they’re different to other ones. I don’t play all the season with 11 players. “
“I play everybody when they are focused and best for the team. I don’t like to put 11 players and have eight or nine without playing. After, as much good you play the more chances to play.”
He also said: “He’s so good, now in the moment I see him play upfront for the dynamic, sense of goal and the pressure. I’m pretty sure with the age and years, when he’s 24, 25, he’ll be able to play more in the defensive positions.”
“He has to understand more but it’s part of the age. He can play both wingers or the striker. As a manager to have a player who can play in these positions it’s fundamental.”
Praise for Benjamin Mendy
Alongside John Stones, Benjamin Mendy has had an impressive return to form. Pep Guardiola is just hoping the Frenchman can maintain a good run in the side:
“He’s getting better, he wasn’t injured, played regularly and played well. He still didn’t get the best level we know he has. When he can train regularly and doesn’t stop for injury he can do what he has.”
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