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“It was not possible” – Pep Guardiola admits Manchester City frustration with Douglas Luiz exit



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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has expressed disappointed with the situation regarding the transfer of Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz.

The 25-year-old will return to the Etihad Stadium in midweek, when Manchester City host Aston Villa in a crucial Premier League clash, with both club’s needing three points amid the race for the title and UEFA Champions League football.

Manchester City fell three points behind Liverpool in the Premier League title race with a goalless draw against Arsenal on Sunday afternoon, meanwhile Unai Emery’s Aston Villa are currently just three points clear of 5th placed Tottenham.

Villa battered Pep Guardiola’s side in the reverse fixture in early December at Villa Park, as a Leon Bailey’s second-half effort secured a 1-0 victory, and inflicted Manchester City’s last defeat in any competition.

Douglas Luiz featured in the Villa victory that evening, with the 25-year-old having moved to the Midlands from Manchester City in 2019 for £15 million, after Etihad bosses failed to secure a work permit for the Brazil international.

The midfielder moved to Manchester City in 2017 from Vasco Da Gama as a teenager, but never made a first-team appearance for the club.

Luiz has been key for Unai Emery’s side this season, with 14 direct goal involvements in 29 Premier League appearances, and four assists in eight UEFA Europa Conference League showings.

Ahead of the midweek meeting between the two teams, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has praised Luiz, and hinted at frustration regarding his exit from the Etihad Stadium.

“Because of a [lack of] work permit, it was not possible [for him] to be with us,” said the 53-year-old.

“He had to make steps so he went [on loan] to Girona and now he’s settled perfectly at Villa, so I’m happy for him. He’s playing really well.”

Manchester City are unbeaten in 15 of the past 16 meetings with Villa, with the impressive streak broken in the reverse meeting earlier this season.

Villa lost 3-1 on their last visit to the Etihad Stadium, after goals from Rodri, Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez.