Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has spoken to the media ahead of Saturday afternoon’s Premier League clash against Crystal Palace at the Etihad Stadium.
The reigning English top-flight champions return to domestic action this week after a 2-3 win over Crvena zvezda in Belgrade featured memorable senior first-team debuts Micah Hamilton and Mahamadou Susoho.
The former notched his first goal for Pep Guardiola’s side to give them the lead in the contest, whilst Oscar Bobb would also go on to claim his first goal for the club, alongside Kalvin Phillips and his late strike from the penalty spot.
Manchester City return to action for Premier League duties this weekend, in what will be their final English top-flight game before jetting off to Saudi Arabia for the start of their FIFA Club World Cup duties.
Crystal Palace are the visitors this weekend, as Roy Hodgson’s side look to shock many with a result at the Etihad Stadium amid a borderline disastrous injury crisis at the Selhurst Park club.
Pep Guardiola and his City coaching staff have concerns of their own this weekend, with Erling Haaland and Jeremy Doku both understood to be doubts ahead of Friday’s training session, whilst Ederson handed the club a boost by returning on Thursday following illness.
Kevin De Bruyne remains sidelined as the Belgian international captain continues his recovery from hamstring surgery undertaken in the summer, but both he and Manchester City expect a return at some stage in the opening weeks of the new year.
Ahead of another round of Premier League action this weekend, here is every word from Pep Guardiola’s open section of his pre-match press conference from the City Football Academy on Friday afternoon!
On Crystal Palace
“Always it has been a tough game, so it will be a tough game. How they defend is brilliant, their set pieces. A tough game, always it has been here. Never easy against Roy Hodgson, (Patrick) Vieira too, but especially with Roy.”
On managing for as long as Roy Hodgson
“I don’t think so, but you never know. He has the fire and passion inside to still be there. Teams are really good. Incredibly well against Liverpool at 11 versus 11.”
On City Football Academy investment
“Oscar (Bobb) is a player for the first-team, Micah (Hamilton) is second team. We need him but he’s there. His impact in the game. All the big clubs, the academy is important for many things. See what happens in the last five years, what happens to us. Make a career away with a good transfer for us to be sustainable financially.
“I know how important it is for our fans to identify with Rico (Lewis), Phil (Foden), Micah (Hamilton), who come from seven/eight-years-old to be in the first-team. It’s phenomenal. Hopefully we can have more players.”
On Jack Grealish’s position
“We don’t have time to work. Yesterday was recovery, today is pre-match. We don’t have time, to understand without training sessions. Sometimes in 10-15 minutes we can do it, Jack can understand immediately. He can play in different positions, in the middle. He’s a typical number 10. At Villa he played as a winger, at the beginning when he arrived he played false nine.”
On Jack Grealish’s performances
“Important, he has to demand himself to score goals, win games, assists. He keeps the ball, makes passes. Last two games he scores goals. Starts a little bit late, many things happen, injuries. Hopefully he can take the rhythm as soon as possible.”
On Erling Haaland
“Arrives today, we see the doctors and we will see. He’s had treatment (away from the Club). Hopefully he can travel to Saudi, tomorrow after the game, we see if he plays the first game or second. I don’t think (he will play vs Crystal Palace), maybe he surprises me.”
“No (I am not worried about the injury). Not fractured, just stress. Sometimes players recover quickly, longer. Day by day, week by week, how he feels. The moment he doesn’t have pain he will play.”
On Rebecca Welch refereeing in the Premier League
“Excellent idea, hopefully in the future can be more. In Germany, Champions League, Bundesliga, there are referees, fourth officials, it’s good.”
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