"He couldn't train with us." - Pep Guardiola Press Conference Highlights (vs West Ham)
After making a winning start to their Champions League campaign in midweek, Manchester City return to Premier League action as they travel to face West Ham on Saturday morning. Pep Guardiola will be looking to carry forward the momentum as they face a David Moyes side who will be high on confidence.
Here's all the key talking points from his press conference...
Injury updates on KDB, Laporte, Aké, Mendy and Jesus
Despite Fernandinho adding to the ever-growing injury list on Wednesday night, Pep Guardiola was surprisingly hush when it came to the return dates of the injured contingent when was asked today.
"Some of them will be involved, some of them no. You will know tomorrow."
However, he did expand on the injuries to Benjamin Mendy and Gabriel Jesus. On the Frenchman he said he's 'definitely' out of tomorrow's game, as well as the 'the next few days'. On Gabriel Jesus, Pep maintained the stance that it's an awkward injury to put a timescale on:
"He's getting better, but a tough injury. He couldn't train with us. He will be ready when he does train because he gets the form quickly but maybe one week, two weeks before that."
John Stones as a midfielder?
With Rodri now the only recognised defensive midfielder that is currently 100% fit, Pep Guardiola was asked whether there was any chance for John Stones to fight his way into the side through a midfield spot.
"No. I see his position as central defender. If we have some problems maybe, but for now I want him confident as a centre-back."
No fans an advantage for away sides?
With the rise of COVID-19 halting the return of fans for even longer, you can really feel the lack of atmosphere inside stadiums at the moment. On multiple occasions this season, away sides have arrived at grounds they've previously struggled and took home the three points. Pep Guardiola was asked if that was anything to do with the lack of fans:
"I think for both teams. All managers want focus for 90 minutes. Fans help for the players to be there. It is what it is. We have to wait a bit longer. Every team with fans, without fans, we prefer playing at home."
Guardiola on West Ham and the title race
This weekend's opponents are on a real high right now - coming back from 3-0 down in the last 10 minutes against Tottenham was an astonishing watch. Despite a tricky start, they've turned it around in recent weeks. Pep Guardiola knows what quality they bring to the table this weekend:
"The past is the past, we have good results. They play really well against Tottenham, not just the last minutes, even at 3-0 down they play with a lot of personality. They are in good form. Definitely they are in a good moment."
It may be far too early for this kind of question, but Pep Guardiola was asked about Manchester City's position in the title race after a mixed start to the campaign:
"To early to know. It looks like there are unexpected results, but the situation is all over the world not just in this bubble. Everyone takes influence in the games. It's only four games."
"Before I came, the history of the Premier League speaks for itself - the most open league in the world. The last two seasons, two teams dominated with a big game between the other ones is an exceptional season. The normality will be back this season."
Crazy European schedule
One of the major changes this year was the shortened time between matches in the group stage. All six games will be played over a period of eight weeks - which includes an international break in-between. Pep Guardiola sees this as a disadvantage:
"Definitely. This league is so difficult. The guys who have seven, eight games have more time to prepare. On the other side, we are competing for titles and this is how we have to live."
"All teams playing in Europe have the same problem. The schedule is crazy for everyone. I don't know, I would like to answer you but three, four games in a row maybe I decide to use the same squad and other ones I make changes.
"Right now, the day before, I don't know my selection. We play tomorrow at 12:30, not much recovery, The guys train well and tonight we decide. There are niggles in some players, some coming back. Some come back immediately and others need time."
Replacing Fernandinho and coping with injuries
Despite picking up an important win in midweek, the loss of Fernandinho to injury really soured the post-match mood amongst fans. Pep Guardiola was asked on his plans of dealing with his absence and coping which what seems like a mountain of injury concerns.
"A leader can be on and off the pitch. Except for 90 minutes, we spend a lot of time [together]. He can help in other ways. It looks like he will be out shorter than one month so it is good. He is tough."
"When you have more of your squad, you have more chances to win. We're doing what we can but it's difficult. They want to create new competitions but, just two or three weeks to rest. This is the crazy situation for them."
Pep's message for Manchester
With the city of Manchester moving into the highest Tier three restrictions put in place by the Government to deal with a spike in Covid-19 infections, Pep Guardiola was asked for his thoughts on what will be a tough time for residents:
"I know it's all around the world unfortunately. We have to adapt. The scientists and politicians hopefully have an agreement. We have to follow instructions, stay safe, stay well. The second wave is here."
"Hopefully the government can help families who cannot work to sustain lives. It's difficult for families who don't get incomes monthly. Hopefully governments can help with all their resources to help the NHS, hospitals and families."
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