After two impressive away victories against Chelsea and Manchester United, Manchester City turn their attentions to the FA Cup, where they face Birmingham City in the third round this Sunday.

Here's what Pep Guardiola had to say before this one when he faced the media...


Ederson, Torres and Doyle to return?

Manchester City's COVID-19 outbreak has shown no signs of slowing down, but thankfully, players seem to be recovering well. We saw Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus return to the bench in midweek, and now Pep Guardiola has said Ederson, Ferran Torres and Tommy Doyle can return to training today if they return a negative test.

"If Ederson and Ferran [Torres] and Tommy [Doyle] are negative, maybe they can train today. Kyle [Walker] and Gabriel [Jesus] were on the bench at Old Trafford, we will see how they react in training sessions. Eric [Garcia] and Cole [Palmer] are isolated..."

(Photo by SHAUN BOTTERILL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

(Photo by SHAUN BOTTERILL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Sergio Agüero to START!

Pep Guardiola confirmed on Wednesday night that, if he was fit enough, Sergio Agüero would start this weekend's clash. The Catalan has said the forward has trained well in the past few days and is right in contention if he trains well again in the next few days.

 "Yesterday we trained really well. If he feels good tomorrow, he is going to play" 

Pep Guardiola also said that Sergio Aguero is 'hungry' for more goals:

"He [Aguero] is so optimistic, saying he will have a good season, score lots. We don't want to create pressure but most of the games we need him as a striker. The most important thing is the consistency we have shown in the last three games."

"We changed the way we played after the West Brom game and we have to show the consistency we have shown in the last three games. That's why we need players coming back, we cannot sustain this effort for 14/15 games."

"It is important that Gabi is back, Kyle is back, Sergio is back, Mendy is back. We need everyone involved to show what we have shown in the last three games again and again and again. That is the target for the next month."

(Photo by JASON CAIRNDUFF/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

(Photo by JASON CAIRNDUFF/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Sheik Mansour buys early FA Cup

In some heartwarming news this morning, Pep Guardiola has described Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour's purchase of the original FA Cup trophy to keep it in England as a 'great gesture'. Guardiola said:

"A great gesture. That is what the club does. A class gesture and it is the first trophy that Manchester City won. We can have it in the National Football Museum. Top class." 


Fernandinho's form a 'surprise' to Guardiola 

After a more than impressive performance on Wednesday night at Old Trafford, Pep Guardiola has admitted he was 'surprised' with the key role Fernandinho has played so far this season. 

“I am more than impressed, more than surprised about the role of Fernandinho this season,” Guardiola began.

"He is leading us in an exceptional way. In good moments, but especially bad moments. I am delighted with what Fernandinho has done, every season but especially this season as captain."

"Before the game, half-time, not just talking with players but in football matters, life, how they train every day. He's the first to prove and that's why he went to Old Trafford, played as the only holding midfielder. Against Pogba and Bruno Fernandes and played an exceptional game. He made a step forward and I'm really impressed." 

(Photo by PETER POWELL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

(Photo by PETER POWELL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

COVID outbreak not ideal for Guardiola's preparation

Pep Guardiola was asked how the recent COVID outbreak in his squad has affected his preparations. Aston Villa and Burnley are the latest two clubs to also announce they've been hit by the strain, and Guardiola has talked about the struggles the squad has gone through.

"It is better to have everyone but we don't have everyone so we have to adapt. Adapt and adjust is the best definition. We have 14, 15, players but the spirit is incredible and shows us the way we have to live this season and in future seasons."

"It is just thinking about what we are doing the next few days thinking 3-4 days before or thinking the day of the game. Every day can change and the day before can change. Unfortunately what you have to do is have an idea."

"Tomorrow we have a training session and we will see how many players we have, any new infections, and then make decisions. It happened with Newcastle and other managers. That day by day is what we have to do." 

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Gundogan bringing a higher level of quality

One of Manchester City's best performers this season has been Ilkay Gundogan. The German has formed a brilliant trio with Rodri and Kevin De Bruyne in the centre and Pep Guardiola even believes he could play further forward if asked.

“One day he will have to play a false nine, and I’m sure he can do it," Pep joked (or did he).

"It's a joy to have him. He can play different roles and is always thinking about what he can do for the team, one of the most unselfish players I have seen in my career. I am so pleased to have players like this."

"He had a different injury in his first season, but recovered well and the year we won 98 points, winning the last 12 games, he played in a holding role and was incredibly important for us. Now he plays higher, brings quality..."

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Pep hails 'brilliant' City defence

All the plaudits, rightly so, went to Manchester City's magnificent defensive line in midweek. Pep Guardiola has been so pleased about how they've got over last seasons struggles and finally look solid at the back.

"From the beginning of the season, really good in terms of how solid we were and how many chances we conceded. But of course lately the back four has been so solid and big thanks to everyone."

"Foden made an incredible effort with intensity and sprints in the last two games. But the back four don't make stupid mistakes, 1v1, blocking shots, they were brilliant. Everyone is so committed and that helps us..."

(Photo by PETER POWELL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

(Photo by PETER POWELL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)


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