Tag Archives: Guardiola

Guardiola is confident Bernardo Silva will catch form soon

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Bernardo Silva will get back to his best this season after a difficult campaign in 2019-20, according to Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.

Pep Guardiola is confident Bernardo Silva will enjoy a strong season for Manchester City after a below-par 2019-20.

Silva scored for Portugal against Sweden in the Nations League on Wednesday, and received backing from Guardiola ahead of City’s clash with Arsenal.

While the playmaker was directly involved in 13 goals last Premier League season – compared to 14 in 2018-19 – he created fewer chances.

Silva created 71 chances, including assists, in 2018-19 and that number dropped to 51 last season, when he played 824 fewer minutes.

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Exhausted Bernardo Silva
Guardiola said the 26-year-old was exhausted last season, having helped City win four domestic trophies and Portugal clinch the Nations League the campaign prior.

“He was injured in some moments and he didn’t reach the levels of previous season, but it happens. I’ve an opinion that if there’s one player I have absolutely no doubts about who he is as a football player, it’s Bernardo,” the City manager told reporters.

“He played absolutely incredible all season when we won four domestic titles, incredible, then was the best player with Portugal at the UEFA Nations League Finals.

“He didn’t have time to refresh, he was exhausted and his mind was exhausted and he struggled with this. It is not because he didn’t want it, it was because we demand a lot of the players and sometimes it is not possible.

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Longer breaks in NBA
“In the NBA – the best league in basketball and we can say the Premier League is one of the best in football – they have three or four months break, they play a lot of games – 70 or 80 – but they have three or four months’ break.”

Guardiola added: “With Bernardo it was like this – he couldn’t refresh mentally and started the season tired mentally. But I have a feeling he’ll have a very good season this season because he’s coming back in many things to what we’ve seen in the past.”

Ahead of hosting Arsenal on Saturday, City are 14th in the table after earning just four points from their opening three games.


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Matthaus Slams Guardiola

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Bayern Munich icon Lothar Matthaus has taken a swipe at Pep Guardiola after his failure to win the Champions League since leaving Barcelona and labelled him as ‘egocentric’ for making too many changes.

The Manchester City boss saw his side dumped out by Lyon in the quarter-finals last season, with the Ligue 1 side running out 3-1 winners, and the Spaniard has still failed to reach the last four since he arrived at the club.

Guardiola also struggled in the competition with Bayern and has received criticism for his decision-making in recent seasons. In City’s defeat against the French outfit he surprised many by opting to play three at the back.

Now Matthaus has accused him of trying too hard to ‘do something special’ and said he must show more consistency in his tactics if he is to end his hoo-doo and win Europe’s grand prize.

‘With Pep Guardiola I have the feeling that he always wants to do something special in big games,’ he told German outlet BILD.

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‘Barcelona had a DNA, a system he pulled through. Pep was successful there.

‘With Bayern and City, he tried it over and over again with changes and failed again and again.’

Guardiola reached three semi-finals in a row with Bayern Munich, and suffered an embarrassing 5-0 loss on aggregate to Real Madrid in 2014, and Matthaus said Guardiola’s constant need to tinker was ‘egocentric’ – pointing out his bizarre call to play Robert Lewandowski on the wing.

‘He always wanted to show that he could do even better. I would like to tell him: “Pep, you are a giant trainer – but please keep your system!”

‘I would describe it as egocentric. That’s a harsh word, but it is due to what he did.

‘At Bayern, Robert Lewandowski even had to play left-wing once. That did not work out at all.’

Guardiola is one of a few managers to have won the Champions League twice – both with Barcelona – but has strayed away from the successful set-up he used at the Nou Camp. City’s exit to Lyon was the third year in a row they have fallen in the last eight.

In 2018 they were dumped out by Premier League rivals Liverpool as they lost 5-1 on aggregate before a crushing last gasp loss to Tottenham the following year.

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Messi calls Guardiola

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Lionel Messi personally reached out to Pep Guardiola over the feasibility of a blockbuster move to Manchester City.

Sources understands the 33-year-old, whose future at the Nou Camp hangs in the balance, called his old boss following the humbling of both Barcelona and City in the Champions League.

That conversation, amid the backdrop of escalating frustration with the Barcelona hierarchy, fuelled the start of this summer’s most dramatic transfer story. Guardiola is understandably enthused at the prospect of a reunion.

City are cautiously optimistic about their chances of striking a deal to land the 33-year-old but sources were calling for calm and patience – particularly given the legal minefield surrounding Messi’s potential departure and clear disagreements over

Sportsmail revealed on Thursday that the upscaling of existing commercial contracts, by implementing a ‘Messi tax’ if brands wanted the Argentine associated with their product, would go some way to making the switch financially viable.

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Caution is being urged given the political games currently at play in Catalonia. Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu made it known that he would be willing to step down from his role.

That was seen as effectively calling Messi’s bluff, although sources again insisted that he has his heart set on leaving after lifting ten La Liga titles and scoring 634 goals for the club.

As well as believing his contract allows him to leave for free Messi also feels he has a right to the same free-agent departure afforded Xavi and Andres Iniesta when they left the club. But Barcelona insist that moving to a Champions League rival would be a very different switch than going to Qatar or Japan.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, who came through the Bareclona academy and was assistant to Guardiola at City, said: ‘It’s always sad to see in my opinion the best player in football history leave that football club. Let’s see what happens, if he comes to England we’re all going to enjoy it.’

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Meanwhile, City’s women’s team are set to make two statement signings next week as England internationals Lucy Bronze and Alex Greenwood leave Lyon.

Bronze spent three years at the Etihad before heading for France in 2017 and the full back is set to re-sign for City after the conclusion of the Champions League. Lyon face Wolfsburg in the final on Sunday looking to win the competition for a fifth consecutive season.

Greenwood is formerly of Manchester United and moved to Lyon last year. The 26-year-old is seen as someone who can play at left back or fill in at centre half.

Gareth Taylor’s side have been on a recruitment drive this summer, with Sportsmail revealing in January that providing extra resource to mould the team into one that can challenge Lyon for European honours was a major priority of the City Football Group board.

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Messi contacts Guardiola

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Lionel Messi has reportedly spoken to Pep Guardiola over the prospect of joining Manchester City this summer, but Barcelona believe Manchester United have started negotiations with the Argentine’s agent.

It was revealed on Tuesday that Barca legend Messi, who has spent his entire career at the Camp Nou, has told the club he wants to move on to pastures new.

That has started the rumour mill on where his next destination will be and according to Spanish outlet Radio Catalunya, Messi has already contacted former boss Guardiola about a move to the Etihad.

The communication has been made in recent days about a potential reunion between the pair, after their illustrious success together between 2008-2012 at Barcelona.

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Messi and Guardiola won two Champions League trophies and three LaLiga titles in a period where the Argentine forward became the best player in the world.

However, a separate report by Spanish website SPORT insists that Manchester Untied and PSG have already pushed to look to sign the 33-year-old.

The report details that Messi would be keen to join former team-mate Neymar, as well as Kylian Mbappe, at the Ligue 1 champions, who lost in the Champions League final on Sunday to Bayern Munich.

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The arrival of Messi would form a sensational front-three duo at the Parc des Princes, as they look to go a step further in Europe next season.

Additionally, United have reportedly made contact with Messi’s representatives, as have Serie A side Inter Milan.

Both clubs have the financial muscle to faciliate Messi’s potential arrival, though that depends on whether the Barca skipper is allowed to leave on a free transfer or not.

Messi believes a clause in his contract allowing him to walk away for nothing is still valid because the season ended in August and not May because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Barcelona say the deadline for Messi to leave for free passed in June and will contest the player’s argument that the deadline changed when the season was rearranged after lockdown.

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Benzema or Messi? See Guardiola’s shocking answer on who the best is


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Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola has spoken about his side’s upcoming Champions League round of 16 second leg clash with Real Madrid.

The Catalan discussed Zinedine Zidane’s approach, Karim Benzema and his own defence, as well as revealing that Eric Garcia doesn’t want to renew his contract.

Guardiola feels that the second leg will be very different to the first which his side won 2-1.

“The first leg was played a long time ago, a long time,” he said during his press conference.

“They are different games.

“We are at home, but without our fans.

“This sport is for the people. The players want to play with them in the stands and for themselves, but now it is not possible.

“This is reality. The first thing is health. We will see when it will be possible [to have fans].

“It matters more that the children return to school than fans to the stadiums.”

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Asked about his leaky defence, Guardiola doesn’t feel any special measures need to be taken.

“Every situation is different,” he said.

“In this competition, mistakes punish you a lot.

“We have talked about that, but sometimes you just have to applaud the opponent.

“We are aware that we have to take another step.”

The City coach also praised Zinedine Zidane for his unpredictability.

“I think [Madrid] are a team that you expect them to be one way and they come out another,” he said.

“We have talked about them, but we have focused more on ourselves, on what we have to do to beat them.

“In the first leg we saw more things from Madrid, because we knew them less.”

Guardiola’s Barcelona past is well known but the Catalan maintains that defeating facing Real Madrid needs no added motivation.

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“No. Of course I’m a Barcelona supporter, but I’ve already played against Bayern and Barcelona,” he said.

“I’m focused on what we have to do for this club to get to the next round.

“I want to beat any opponent, whoever they are.”

Karim Benzema is among the main men to watch for City, and Guardiola was full of praise for the Frenchman, although he didn’t want to go too far.

“Benzema is extraordinary, fantastic,” he said.

“But since my time at Barcelona there have been 20 players that have come onto the scene and people have asked if we can compare him with [Leo] Messi. 20 players.”

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Guardiola confirmed that Eric Garcia doesn’t want to renew his contract with the club which is set to expire in the summer of 2021.

With Barcelona interested in the youngster, it appears likely that the Catalans will be encouraged to make a move for the defender.

“He has a year left, but he has already told us that he does not want to renew,” Guardiola revealed during his press conference.

“So we assume that he will want to play elsewhere.”

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‘I Will always be a Barca fan’ – Guardiola on Madrid’s clash

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Ahead of the Man City-Real Madrid clash on Friday, Pep Guardiola spoke to the media about beating Los Blancos, Ramos’ absence and the threat posed by Hazard and Benzema.

Preview: “It was a long time ago we played the first leg. We knew it after the game we would have another here at home. It is without our people but we will try to do a good game.”

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“We will be happy for us to go through but beating this kind of team would be a big confidence boost for us. We know we want to win the Champions League so we can only focus on one game. It is important to win tomorrow. We are focused and the confidence of the team is to get this goal because it is so important for the club. It is a dream for everyone, for me. Tomorrow we have this amazing match that is a final for us but we have the confidence that it is a long tournament.”

Playing without fans: “I think all professionals, not just the manager, miss spectators. That is the reality but we have already adapted a little bit. Hopefully it depends on the health if we are going to play with fans but when it is going to happen it needs to be secure for everyone. We want kids to go to school as soon as possible, that is more important than people coming back to stadiums.”

Conceding goals: “More than concede the goals is the way we concede. If they are brilliant we have to accept but most of them we could have avoided and we have to avoid making mistakes. This competition punishes you a lot. We know it, we have spoken about that the last years and we know it. If we want to make a step forward as a team to be close to winning this competition we have to be better in this area.”

Is beating Madrid special because of the Barcelona connection?: “No, not especially. The fact we play against Real Madrid or not, I will always be a Barcelona supporter. It is the club where I grew up and gave me part of who I am but when I was with Bayern and played against Real Madrid or Barcelona I wanted to beat them. Nothing special. I want it for our players and our club to go to the next step, I don’t lose concentration on this kind of thing because I focus on what we have to do as a team to beat Real Madrid.”

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Situation with Eric García: “He announced to us that he doesn’t want to extend his contract with MC. He has one more year and after that, he doesn’t want to extend. We want it but he doesn’t want to extend it so I imagine he wants to play in other places.”

Guardiola on Benzema, Hazard, Ramos and Zidane
Karim Benzema: “He’s a fantastic player, I have been aware since he was a young lad at Lyon and he’s a great player but since my time at Barcelona there have been 20 players that have come on the scene and people have asked if we can compare with Messi. 20 players.” Eden Hazard: “We want to play against opponents that have their best players on the field. You don’t need me ot tell you Hazard is one of the best in the world and he can turn a game and influence a result. It’s down to Zidane to decide whether to risk him if he isn’t fully fit but we’re aware of the dangers he can bring and we will be ready for him if he does play.”

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Absence of Sergio Ramos: “We knew that Ramos was going to be out from the minute the game finished at the Bernabeu. Of course he is key to them and he has been a great player throughout his career but as I just said now we are focusing more on what we can do to influence and win the game than who might or might not be playing for Madrid.”

Zidane’s approach to the game: “It’s difficult to know when you think that you’ve got one of his tactical plans covered he’ll hit you with another or revert. It is already very difficult to analyse tactics. In the dim and distant past we played the first leg and what we can remember from that we will put to good use. Since then, we’ve watched all Madrid’s games since La Liga restarted so we’ve spoken about how we think Madrid might approach this game but what we have done more is speak as a squad about how we can hurt Madrid and cause problems for them. That is what we’ve been focusing on in the buildup to this game.”

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Guardiola VS Zidane, Europe’s top ranking coaches go one on one

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Guardiola VS Zidane, Europe’s top ranking coaches go one on one

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When Pep Guardiola parted ways with Barcelona no one thought that his record of 14 titles in 247 games would ever be matched, but Zinedine Zidane is now closing in on that figure.

Zidane now has a better average of trophies per game than Guardiola (one every 19 matches compared to the Catalan’s one every 22), but if you focus on his best period at the Camp Nou, Pep won a title every 18 matches, edging his rival.

The two coaches will come face-to-face this Friday in the Champions League in a game in which Manchester City hold the advantage after a 2-1 win against Real Madrid at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

Two attack-minded coaches


Zidane’s Real Madrid go into the game with the best defensive record in Europe’s top five leagues, while Guardiola’s Manchester City boast the best attack after scoring 102 goals.

They are two coaches who love to defend and attack, with Real Madrid notching at average of 2.4 goals per game, not far off Guardiola’s 2.58.

Guardiola comes out on top in terms of percentage of matches won, having triumphed in 73.8 percent of his 639 games in charge, having lost only 74, while the Frenchman isn’t far behind with an average win rate of 67.14 percent, losing 26 matches out of 210.

What stands out about Zidane is that from his 11 titles, he has won all nine cup finals he has managed in, and among them were the three consecutive Champions League triumphs, which is a trophy Guardiola hasn’t managed to get his hands on since he left Barcelona.

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However, if there’s a coach who dominates domestically, especially in the league, it’s Guardiola, who has won a total of eight.

He only lost one LaLiga Santander title to Real Madrid in his four years at Barcelona before going on to lift three Bundesliga trophies with Bayern Munich and then coming out on top in the Premier League in two of his four seasons with Manchester City.

In the first head-to-head between these two great coaches this season, Guardiola came out on top.

The Catalan will now be looking to seal the deal in the return leg in Manchester and eliminate a Zinedine Zidane side for the first time in Europe and finally claim that much-desired first Champions League trophy for Manchester City.

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Guardiola warns Real Madrid ahead of UCL clash

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After below-par displays against Bournemouth and Arsenal, Pep Guardiola says Manchester City will lose to Real Madrid on current form.

“It does not take a genius” to know Manchester City must improve if they are to knock Real Madrid out of the Champions League, says Pep Guardiola.

City began this week with a significant victory off the field as the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned their two-year ban from UEFA competitions, finding allegations of Financial Fair Play violations to be either “not established” or “time-barred” under regulations set out by European football’s governing body.

On the field, it has been a different story, with head coach Guardiola critical of his players’ performance in Saturday’s 2-0 FA Cup semi-final defeat to Arsenal.

Despite winning the EFL Cup in March, City’s meek Premier League title defence in 2019-20 means their campaign will ultimately be judged on how the reformatted Champions League plays out.

Man City due to host Real Madrid in last-16 second leg on 7 August
They hold a 2-1 advantage over Madrid before the second leg of the last-16 tie at the Etihad Stadium on 7 August.

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The winner will progress to an eight-team straight knockout tournament in Lisbon the following week, taking on whoever prevails from the match-up between Juventus and Lyon, with the Ligue 1 side 1-0 to the good at halfway.

Madrid have won 10 out of 10 since returning from lockdown to wrap up LaLiga glory, while losses to Chelsea and S toouthampton have taken City’s overall tally of Premier League defeats to nine this term.

“We have to increase our standard against Madrid”
“I don’t have to tell them. They know it, they feel it,” said Guardiola, who also felt his players deserved to lose their 2-1 midweek win over relegation-threatened Bournemouth.

“We know the standards that we have to be on these kinds of stages, in these kind of competitions. Maybe we are learning, maybe not. We will see.

“The last game against Bournemouth was not good and today the first half was not good. We struggled to play at our level.

“It does not take a genius to realise we have to increase our standard against Madrid if we want to have any chance to go through.”

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Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez all went close to a second-half equaliser before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang completed his brace in the 71st minute.

Arsenal semi-final lost in first half, says Guardiola
Mahrez’s effort, sharply stopped by Arsenal goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez at his near post, was City’s only attempt on target, but Guardiola felt the game was lost during a lacklustre first period.

“We didn’t make a good performance,” he said, after City failed to prevail in a domestic cup tie for the first time since February 2018.

“We can lose the game. My regret is we didn’t play the first half like we played the second one. Sometimes it happens. It’s an incredible run but sometimes you can lose.

“But the way we lost, particularly in the first half, we’re sad about this.

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Guardiola praises exceptional David Luiz

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David Luiz endured a shambolic outing last time Arsenal faced Manchester City but Pep Guardiola believes the Brazilian is top class.

Pep Guardiola has labelled the much-maligned David Luiz “an exceptional player” ahead of Manchester City’s FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal.

City have won seven matches in succession against the Gunners, a run that stretches back to the same stage of this competition three years ago.

The last of those was a 3-0 Premier League triumph at the Etihad Stadium last month – a game perhaps most notable for David Luiz’s nightmare individual outing.

Introduced as a replacement for the injured Pablo Mari during the first half, the Brazil international misjudged Kevin De Bruyne’s searching pass for Raheem Sterling’s opening goal.

David Luiz then pulled back Riyad Mahrez to be sent off and give De Bruyne the chance to double City’s lead from the penalty spot – one the Belgium star gladly accepted.

Not for the first time in his career, the 33-year-old found himself as the subject of derision, but he has gone on to play a key role in Arsenal’s revival on the other side of a two-match ban.

“I have incredible respect for his career. He’s an exceptional player with incredible mentality and especially personality,” Guardiola told a pre-match news conference, where he had particularly sharp words for David Luiz’s critics.

“I laugh a lot about all the pundits, they were defenders and believe they didn’t make one mistake in their careers when they played for 20, 10 or 15 years.

“I like that he is still playing football and I’m pretty sure he’s going to make more good actions and mistakes as that’s part of the game, but with a lot of dignity.

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“I have a lot of respect for this player. A lot.”

Guardiola’s admiration for Mikel Arteta, his City assistant until he took the top job at Arsenal last December, is well established.

The Gunners’ 2-1 comeback win over Premier League champions Liverpool in midweek was their fourth in the past six top-flight games, and City’s manager believes the north London club are in the early stages of a transformation.

“I expect an incredibly tough, tough, tough game because they have something special already,” he said.

“They have team spirit. Mikel has created…from the outside, maybe I’m wrong, I see in the game how they celebrate the goals, how they fight every single ball.

“They have started to create something special for this club. Everybody fights for everybody and that’s why it will be difficult.”

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‘I have Real Madrid in mind’ Guardiola

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The Manchester City manager, Pep Guardiola, refuses to believe the hype that his side already has one foot in the quarter-finals, where they could face Juventus.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said on Friday he was not looking ahead to a potential Champions League quarter-final tie against Juventus because any loss of focus could result in elimination by Real Madrid in the last 16.

Madrid, not Juventus, on Guardiola’s radar
City lead Real 2-1 heading into the return leg at the Etihad Stadium on 7 August and would face Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juve in the quarter-finals if both teams were to progress. The Italians are 1-0 down versus Olympique Lyonnais from the first leg in France.

‘In this organisation there is no one who knows Real better than me. They are the dominant team in the Champions League and we have to focus on them,’ Guardiola told reporters ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash against Brighton & Hove Albion.

‘We think about Real. If we think about the next step when we are playing against the king of this competition, they will put us out.’

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Guardiola confirmed Argentine striker Sergio Aguero, who had knee surgery in Barcelona last month, would be unavailable for the fixture against the 13-time European champions. The club’s record goalscorer limped off with a knee injury in last month’s 5-0 Premier League home win over Burnley.

City’s appeal against a two-year suspension from European football was heard last month at the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) and Guardiola was confident the UEFA ban will be overturned when the decision is announced on Monday.

‘The intention every season is to play in the Champions League and do the best possible. It is not about what will happen on Monday,’ he said. ‘I’m confident because I saw the arguments of the club that next season we will be there but we have to wait and after I give my opinion or the club will give their statement.’

A win at Brighton would confirm City’s berth in the top four and snap a run of three straight league defeats on the road, the worst away run in Guardiola’s managerial career.

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Guardiola confirms Mancity will go for Messi

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Pep Guardiola has given his take on the speculation surrounding Lionel Messi’s Barcelona future.

The Manchester City manager presided over Messi in his prime during four memorable years at the Camp Nou, during which Barcelona won two Champions League trophies and three La Liga titles.

While Guardiola himself has gone on to new challenges – first with Bayern Munich and now Man City – the ex-Barca midfielder admitted he wants Messi to his career at their boyhood club.

In a press conference ahead of the Citizens’ meeting with Newcastle on Wednesday evening, Guardiola was asked for his reaction to rumours that he may try to bring Messi to Manchester.

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But the manager has refused to be drawn on Man City’s transfer plans for the time being.

“As I’ve said before, we’ll talk about the transfer market at the end of the season and I won’t say anything now,” Guardiola explained in his native Catalan.

“But my preference is for Messi to stay at Barcelona.”

Messi has sent the rumour mill into overdrive once again after putting on hold negotiations to extend his current Barcelona contract, which expires at the end of the 2020/21 campaign.

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The 33-year-old has already been linked with moves to various Italian clubs, including a mouth-watering crossover with Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus.

But most Barcelona followers expect Messi to remain one of theirs and believe he is simply taking advantage of his strong hand with the club directors.

The two clubs could yet meet in this year’s reorganised Champions League if Guardiola’s men can hold their 2-1 advantage over Real Madrid in the second leg of their last-16 tie at the Etihad.

The draw for the remaining three rounds of the competition, which will all be played as single-legged matches, takes place virtually on Friday lunchtime.

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‘We will give Liverpool guard of honour’ – Guardiola

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Manchester City will give newly crowned Premier League champions Liverpool a guard of honour when the teams meet at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday, manager Pep Guardiola has said.

Liverpool ended their 30-year wait for a top-flight title when last season’s champions City were beaten 2-1 by Chelsea last week, handing the Merseyside club an unassailable 23-point lead at the top of the table.

Liverpool’s first match since being confirmed as champions is at City’s stadium and Guardiola said his players would pay tribute to Juergen Klopp’s title-winning side.

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“We are going to do the guard of honour of course,” Guardiola said. “We will greet Liverpool, when they come to our house, in an incredible way. We are going to do it because they deserve it.”

The 49-year-old added that he was already looking forward to helping City come back stronger next season.

“In sport you have to live in the future,” Guardiola said. “Never can you have one eye on what you have done. Never forget that we are an incredible club and organisation and what you have to do is learn.

“I think we know the reason why we suffered this season and we are going to try to solve it for next season.”

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Guardiola’s future unclear at City as he has 12months only Left

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Manchester City are facing the prospect of huge upheaval in 2021, with Pep Guardiola still unwilling to commit his future to the Etihad.

The Citizens are waiting on more bad news after being dethroned as English champions, with the Court of Arbitration for Sport processing an appeal against the club’s two-year ban from European competition, enforced by UEFA.

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City are alleged to have committed Financial Fair Play breaches and could lose a number of their stars including Guardiola if the ban is upheld, with the Spaniard’s contract expiring next summer.

‘I’m incredibly excited for this part of the season, and the next one,’ the former Barcelona boss said.

‘I am incredibly satisfied to be in this club and to try to do our best.

‘But I don’t want to think too far ahead. Now is not the time. I just think about today. We have a tough game away against Newcastle in the FA Cup and we have to be focused.’

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Guardiola is determined to bounce back next season after being crushed by rivals Liverpool, with Jurgen Klopp’s men being handed the Premier League title on Thursday after City’s 2-1 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

City look to be in need of defensive reinforcements but could struggle to attract the world class talent they need if Champions League football is off the cards.

Since Sheikh Mansour’s takeover in 2008, City have achieved everything except the Champions League, a target the club hope to achieve this season to get ahead of any suspension.

City find themselves well placed for success so far, having beaten Real Madrid 2-1 in the first-leg of their last-16 clash with the Spanish giants.

The second leg was postponed due to coronavirus but City will travel to Lisbon for the Champions League mini-tournament in August gunning for the title.

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Foden already stands as replacement for Silva – Guardiola

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The talent of Manchester City’s 20-year-old midfielder Phil Foden, who scored twice in Monday’s 5-0 home win over Burnley, means the club do not have to invest in a replacement for the departing David Silva, says manager Pep Guardiola.

Spaniard Silva, 34, is due to leave City at the end of this campaign after 10 seasons with the club but in Foden City look to have a ready made replacement.

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“In this position, when David says it is his last year I spoke with the board that we have Phil (Foden) so we don’t have to invest,” said Guardiola.

Foden, who scored the first and fifth goals in the rout and looked composed and classy throughout, said Monday’s match was his best in a City shirt but Guardiola was not so sure.

“I remember some games in the cup when he played similar. I am happy for him and he says what he feels,” added Guardiola.

“I said many times when he played he never played bad. He loves to play football. When he has a day off he is with his friends with the ball.

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“Every time he played with us he always played at a high level. But he is 20 years old and he needs to improve. He will be an important player for this club for the next decade. He deserves it. He is a joy to watch,” he said.

Guardiola hopes Silva, who also scored against Burnley, will be given a proper farewell when fans are back in the stadiums.

“We are going to, when it is possible to have people back to The Etihad, to try and have not one empty seat for this incredible legend,” he said.

“With Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure, Pablo Zabaleta – these players bring these players to another level and they deserve real fireworks. David is unique in the small spaces.”

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Guardiola fears this might be Agüero’s last season

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Manchester City’s all-time top scorer Sergio Aguero could be out for the rest of the season after suffering a knee injury during Monday’s 5-0 Premier League win over Burnley at The Etihad.

“It doesn’t look good. We are going to see tomorrow. He was struggling in the last month with a problem in the knee. We will see what he has done but it doesn’t look good for the season,” said Guardiola.

Aguero went down under a challenge from defender Ben Mee on the stroke of halftime with the Burnley captain ruled by VAR to have made contact with his foot.

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The Argentine limped off to be replaced by Gabriel Jesus, the club’s only other recognised central striker.

While second-placed City have next to no chance of catching leaders Liverpool, who have a 20-point lead with eight games remaining, the absence of Aguero will be a blow to Guardiola’s Champions League hopes.

City lead 2-1 against Real Madrid from the away leg of their last 16 match and are hoping to reach August’s ‘Final Eight’ of the competition in Lisbon.

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Guardiola confirms Sane will leave Mancity

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Sane has officially told Manchester City he wants to leave the club this summer.

The winger has rejected numerous offers of a new contract at the Etihad Stadium and those negotiations have reached a standstill.

Sane will depart for Bayern Munich this summer if the two clubs can agree a fee – but City have maintained they will not be bullied.

The Premier League champions will allow the 24-year-old to run down his contract until next June if Bayern do not lodge an offer deemed acceptable.

‘Leroy has said he doesn’t want to extend the contract,’ Pep Guardiola said. ‘It means he’s going to leave, It’s going to happen this summer or at the end of the contract.

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‘We offered two or three times and he rejected so he’s going to play for another club. Leroy rejected to extend and everybody knows that. If at the end of this season we agree between the two clubs he will leave.

‘I’m disappointed. We want him. He’s a young player with incredible potential. It’s difficult to find them.

‘We tried before the injury, after the surgery, but he has other ambitions. We want players who are fully committed.

‘We respect him, he’s an incredibly nice guy. I love him. He’s so well educated, has a nice family. He wants another adventure for his career.’

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