Pep Guardiola has been speaking to the press as Manchester City prepare to visit Leicester on Saturday. Here’s what he had to say.
Guardiola: Finally Man United is coming back to form
Pep Guardiola, the manager of Manchester City, believes that as the competition for Champions League spots heats up, rivals United are returning to the top.
Guardiola believes Erik ten Hag has improved since taking over as manager of United. They have gone unbeaten in seven games since City defeated them 6-3.
Guardiola remarked, “I feel that United are coming back.”
“Finally, United is making a comeback. I saw it against Sheriff Tiraspol on Thursday [a 3-0 victory] and against Chelsea in the first half [of the 1-1 draw last Saturday].”
“Many teams will compete like United, so you have to qualify for the Champions League and compete for the title. I stated I like what I see of United right now.”
According to Guardiola, Newcastle will likely be a title and top-four contender this year.
“Newcastle’s central defenders went man to man against Kane and Son against Tottenham with no issues, as I witnessed.”
“In the third game of the season, we faced them. Think about this team only having one game per week. We are aware of Eddie’s managerial abilities.”
Pep Guardiola thinks @ManUtd are on the way back. “I have a feeling that United is coming. Finally, United is coming. I saw yesterday (against Sheriff) and Chelsea the first half. I thought I like what I see from United just now.”
— Simon Stone (@sistoney67) October 28, 2022
Guardiola: Humility is a crucial attribute to keep City hunting honours year after year
The fundamental quality that Pep Guardiola has identified as keeping City on the search for awards year after year is “humility.”
Under Guardiola, City has won the Premier League four times in six seasons, including an incredible two consecutive championships in 2017–18 and 2018–19, as well as in 2020–21 and 2021/22. Under the manager, they have also raised four League Cups and one FA Cup.
The manager is excited about City’s prospects this term and said respecting all opponents in every competition is the best way to stay in the hunt on all fronts.
He asserted that thinking “we are good, we are going to win” only guarantees initial success, not the ongoing achievement.
“That would be [one of] the biggest errors we could make. The largest” declared Guardiola during the news conference before the game.
“It would help if you stayed away from it. You must show humility and respect for our adversaries.”
“We try to convey to the players how challenging everything is. It isn’t easy to remain there for one more season while being just two points off the league lead.”
Pep provides injury updates on Haaland, Kyle Walker & Kalvin Phillips
On Erling Haaland: “He feels better; we’ll check after training this afternoon. We’ll wait until he feels something in his foot before deciding.”
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says he is still 'waiting' on the fitness of Erling Haaland ahead of their trip to Leicester…?⏳ pic.twitter.com/kvA3LA6im2
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) October 28, 2022
On Phillips and Walker: “They are not ready for Leicester. They are better. Kalvin especially, but they are out. They are optimistic. They are in touch with the national team. Hopefully, they will be OK to be selected, but it is up to the national team.”
“(Phillips) feels pretty well, and his shoulder has excellent mobility. Currently, he must avoid making touch with his teammates. Maybe he can get some playing time (before the World Cup) if he’s healthy, and I think he can play.”
Guardiola: Alvarez is ready
Suppose Erling Haaland is unable to play this weekend. In that case, Pep Guardiola says he has every confidence Julian Alvarez will start the match against Leicester City.
Alvarez might be Guardiola’s “first option” to replace Haaland if the latter cannot play.
“Julian is usually the first choice when Erling is not ready,” he remarked.
“We will indeed play him, of course. I think Julian can drop and is good [at dropping], so if Erling is not playing tomorrow, for the future, Julian is the first choice,” said the coach.
“He can play in a false nine, but I don’t think this will happen. Play every game for 90 minutes, and he will score goals—maybe not as frequently as Erling.”
“I am aware of how challenging it is not to play frequently. However, we have been quite impressed with him on a wide range of fronts from day one.”