Manchester City reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup in Pep Guardiola’s first season in charge before going out to Arsenal. This season, City will try again to win the historic trophy for the first time since 2011, when Roberto Mancini’s men ended a three decade-plus trophy drought.
Ahead of the Blues’ fourth round tie with Championship promotion hopefuls Cardiff, Pep addressed the media at the CFA.
The first question was unsurprisingly about Aymeric Laporte, who by all reports is close to joining City in a club-record deal. Guardiola, as usual, refused to give anything away about Laporte or Fred when asked.
“He’s a player of Athletic Bilbao. You will know if it happens, if it doesn’t, it won’t happen.
“There were players in the past we were interested in, there will be in the future. We will try to do the best we can.
“I know you are curious about it (transfers). Here is not the place to talk about it. They are playing for other clubs. Making deals is so difficult. It is not right place to talk about names.”
Asked whether he feels he is getting closer to having the perfect squad he envisioned when joining City, Pep gave an interesting response.
“You are never near. If you believe you are okay for the next three years it is a mistake.
“The players who aren’t playing regularly accept their positions, but in future maybe next season they won’t accept and they want to leave.
“You always have to solve the situation year by year.”
Could fatigue be an issue with City fighting on four fronts? The boss is taking it game by game.
“We’ve played a lot of games and we still have a lot to play. We’re in every competition so we take it game by game and we will see what our level is.”
Three key City players have renewed their contracts in recent days and for Pep that was the best news of late.
“Otamendi, Fernandinho and De Bruyne have all extended their contracts and we are so so happy that they are with us for the future. It is the best news of the past weeks.”
On the topic of injuries, the news was good. Kyle Walker is fine after taking a knock late in the Bristol City game and there are no other injury.
“Kyle is fit to play. Everybody else is okay. No extra injury concerns for this weekend.”
Finally, before the embargoed portion of his presser, Pep was asked by an international journalist if he could restore the three-at-the-back formation. He responded in Spanish.
“It’s an alternative we have. We might use it again. But so far, I feel comfortable with four at the back. It doesn’t depend on if we sign another central defender. We might see it in the future again.”
Ohh Kevin De Bruyne! KDB is staying at Man City until 2023 – to celebrate the City Store have released a new KDB Initial T-Shirt!