Pep Guardiola has been speaking to the press ahead of Manchester City’s game with Fulham. Here’s what he had to say.
Pep Guardiola hits back at Ibrahimovic’s dig
Pep Guardiola responded bluntly to another jab from his longtime rival Zlatan Ibrahimovic by jokingly declaring that he is envious of Erling Haaland.
Ibrahimovic has asserted that Haaland will succeed at Manchester City only if manager Guardiola controls his ego.
Guardiola and Ibrahimovic had a falling out over ten years ago when the Catalan was the manager at the Nou Camp. Ibrahimovic has remained critical ever since.
Ibrahimovic asked Canal+ if Guardiola could make Haaland better: “That relies on Guardiola’s ego and whether or not he allows himself to be greater than Haaland. He prohibited the others from growing as big as I did.”
As he reflected on his remarks during a press conference on Friday, Guardiola made it plain that he did not want to engage in a verbal altercation with Ibrahimovic.
“When Erling scores three goals and receives all the attention, it irritates me. I’m so envious!”
“He is right, he is fully right,” remarked Guardiola. “My ego is more prominent than everyone else’s on this team in this club!”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic said Pep Guardiola's ego will hamper Erling Haaland's ability at Manchester City.
Pep's response is just perfect Pep ??#ManCity #MCFC pic.twitter.com/4y8pJRe7re
— Mike Minay (@MikeMinay) November 4, 2022
“It irritates me when Erling scores three goals and receives all the attention. I’m so envious! I’m envious!”
“I said, ‘Erling, please no more goals, otherwise The Sun and Daily Mail won’t talk about me, and just about me. He is right, he knows me perfectly. He can write another book.”
When it was suggested Guardiola might be being sarcastic, he responded: “No. I am right in what I am saying. My ego is… phwoosh.”
Guardiola is not surprised by Fulham’s form
As Manchester City gears up to take on the Cottagers this weekend, Pep Guardiola maintains he is not astonished by Fulham’s performance this year.
“I’m not at all surprised. It would help if you looked at what they did in the transfer window,” he said during the pre-game press conference.
“Marco [Silva] is great; they have an excellent behind-the-scenes procedure and a plan when things go tough. They had a great start against Liverpool and kept up the good work.”
“You lose if we let them play a long ball to Mitrovic; he is a competitor and pushes defenders to their physical limits. He is methodical.”
“There was a lot of talk about him only being a Championship goal scorer, yet here we are and he’s doing it in the Premier League.”
? "Not surprised at all."
Pep Guardiola admits he is not shocked by Fulham's strong start to the season with the team in 7th spot pic.twitter.com/OlFrkA4a6n
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) November 4, 2022
Guardiola on Pique’s retirement
“Is unexpected news, considering he arrived in England at a young age. After that having a remarkable career in Barcelona.”
“I wish him and his family the very best. A player that consistently performs at the most significant level never misses a shot or behaves poorly. The significant clubs all require these players.”
“For Barcelona and Spain to win everything. The future will be bright. He’s a smart guy. Being his manager was an honor, and our four years together were terrific.”
Pep Guardiola on Pique: "Surprise news. Here in England at a very young age. He had an incredible career at Barcelona. I wish him all the best. Huge personality. A player for the big games. His future will be bright because he is a smart guy."
— Simon Stone (@sistoney67) November 4, 2022
Guardiola provides injury updates
Guardiola provided an update on the fitness of Erling Haaland, who has missed the club’s last two matches through injury. He said the Norwegian is eligible to play but would be evaluated before the match.
He said, “He’s much better, so we’ll decide today. Training is this afternoon, and after that, we’ll see. Everything is up to him, his judgment, and the doctors. It might only take 90 minutes.”
On other fitness issues, he said. “Manu (Akanji) is okay, Kalvin (Phillips) and Kyle (Walker) still not fit.”