Pep Guardiola ‘won’t make excuses’ as fitness worries mount for Manchester City

Carrie Guzman
September 25, 2020

Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has tested positive for COVID-19, the Premier League club said on Monday, making him the third player in the squad to return a positive test in recent weeks.

The City boss says he only has 13 fit senior players available after being hampered by injuries, the coronavirus and the lack of a significant pre-season. "Tactically the guys executed the plan very well and I thought we were very fearless in possession and caused Man City quite a few problems".

Guardiola said: "If the players are good and have desire and work ethic every day we'll give them the chances."

"At 17, Liam is a different striker to what we have in terms of physicality". Now is the time to be calm and keep working.

"We are delighted with his performance - he played really well". "If we need more players we'll have the players from the academy to help us".

American goalkeeper Steffen also made a rare start for City on Thursday and despite conceding, Guardiola also liked what he saw from the 25-year-old. "He has a lot of things to improve, steps need their own time".

Alessandro Sabattini  Getty Images Sport
Ferran: "Pep was the right one to help me improve"

'We've had Phil, Eric, Liam and we have Cole Palmer, who will be an exceptional player. That's why you have the Academy.

"When you start a new season there are new aspirations, you want to win the most as possible and we want to win everything". It depends on the quality of the player.

The powerful forward, son of former Stoke midfielder Rory, put City ahead against Bournemouth with a fine strike from just inside the box while Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Tommy Doyle also acquitted themselves well.

"Disappointed that we lost, their first goal I didn't feel was a goal, I thought it should have been a free-kick on Sam Surridge and ultimately that had a big impact on the game".

City finished last season with a whimper as they ended 18 points behind Premier League champions Liverpool and suffered a shock Champions League quarter-final defeat against Lyon. We had a lot of young players out there, I think we finished the game with six players who have come through the academy system, which was pleasing again for me and they did themselves justice against a really strong side.

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