French media outlet L’Equipe have stated that the relationship between Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and defender Aymeric Laporte is “fatally strained”, as relayed by SportWitness.
Laporte was widely considered to be an indispensable figure in the City team at the beginning of the season. However, the arrival of Ruben Dias and the renaissance of John Stones has seen the Frenchman’s role marginalised.
The defender has played only twice since the defeat against Tottenham in November, starting in victories against Marseille and Arsenal in the Champions League and Carabao Cup respectively.
L’Equipe write that the relationship between the player and manager Guardiola is “fatally strained” – but they do not elaborate if this preceded Laporte’s absence from the starting XI or if it is a result of it.
They also cite Guardiola’s public comments about the blossoming Dias-Stones partnership as evidence of this: “Ruben doesn’t make mistakes, he’s always focused. He’s helped us to be stronger, and his understanding with John is amazing. This is what keeps us in the race”.
Certainly, many City fans have suspected that there might be some personal tension in the relationship between Pep and Laporte. L’Equipe suggest that it is the case, and it is likely that more reports will emerge to shed further light on the situation.
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