Manchester City got back to winning ways on Sunday night, with goals from Sergio Agüero and Kevin De Bruyne earning the Blues a hard-fought three points against Sheffield United. Next up, the Champions welcome Everton to the Etihad.
Here’s what Pep Guardiola had to say when he faced the media ahead of this one...
AYMERIC LAPORTE BACK!
Happy New Year Blues! Pep Guardiola today confirmed Aymeric Laporte is back on the pitch and is around 'one week to ten days' away from training with the rest of the squad. What better news to start the year with!
Further Injury Update
As usual, the first news Pep Guardiola confirmed was that there are no new injury concerns. That means both John Stones and David Silva will be available as they complete their recovery from their own injuries. Leroy Sané remains a long-term absentee, while Aymeric Laporte as previously mentioned, is coming towards the latter stages of his rehabilitation.
Pep Guardiola was also asked about his planning going into this demanding fixture list, in terms of risk of injuries to his players:
"We take risks, the same in the last game. We played 80 minutes 10 against 11 with Wolves and then with less than two days, we played again. It is a risk but you have to take it."
Guardiola on VAR
It's certainly divided opinion; but Guardiola didn't seem to be in any mood to talk about VAR on Tuesday afternoon, which actually helped his side in their 2-0 win against Sheffield United. Lys Mousset's opening goal was disallowed for a marginal infringement of the offside law.
"I don’t have an opinion about that. I don’t want to talk about it. I work as a manager, the rules are about football, I don’t want to talk about that."
Guardiola on Everton and Ancelotti
Everton have seen an upturn in results since appointing Carlo Ancelotti as boss earlier this month, and Pep Guardiola is well aquatinted with his opposition manager and was full of praise for the Italian coach.
"Everton is Everton - one of the biggest, traditional, historical clubs in England, with incredible players...
They've struggled a little but the quality is there. A new manager, with incredible experience - one of the smartest."
Guardiola has sat down with Ancelotti on numerous occasions and feels Everton have acquired a world-class manager:
"He has an incredible capacity - one of the smartest guys. It doesn't matter what team, he makes them work.
I know him quite well - we've played a few times, not much. His teams always beat our teams. I had the honour to be with him several times - dinner, talks, UEFA meetings, private dinners. He's an incredible gentleman."
"He conducts some of the greatest teams in Europe, and when that happens it is because he is an incredible manager. It is incredible for English football that he is back. I’m pretty sure he will be a success."
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— Man City Xtra (@City_Xtra) December 31, 2019