Manchester City return to Wembley Stadium on Sunday, home of some amazing (and not so amazing) memories in times gone by. This time they take on Chelsea in the Community Shield, which pits Pep Guardiola up against his friend Maurizio Sarri, who took over at Chelsea this summer.
Ahead of the season curtain-raiser, Guardiola addressed the media this afternoon at the City Football Academy.
The big question among fans is will City sign anyone else before the transfer window closes? Pep didn’t rule it out, but it’ll have to be a special player.
“If we decide to bring in another one, it will be because he’s a special player, a special player for the future, not an extra player just for numbers,” Pep revealed.
The good news is that Riyad Mahrez is fit again after sustaining an ankle knock against Bayern Munich in America. Pep expects the Algerian to be ready for Wembley.
“Riyad Mahrez is much better, he is training and I think he is going to play on Sunday.”
Pep also confirmed news from Brazil that Douglas Luiz IS in his plans for the season – but they must get a work permit for him first and that process is underway.
“We would like it. But he has no work visa. He has the potential to stay with us and improve with us. We saw it in pre-season.
“Douglas is ready to play in the first team. We believe he can play with us.”
Gabriel Jesus renewed his contract today, extending his stay in Manchester until 2023. And his manager had nothing but praise for the hard-working Brazilian.
“Gabriel is a gem, his courage and his fight to give every effort for the team is incredible. He’s able to improve and always think about what he can do better. Congratulations to him.”
The Chelsea game will pit Pep against a close friend and rival, Maurizio Sarri, a man the Catalan has great respect for.
“I am looking forward to seeing Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea. I think it will be a good game on Sunday. Chelsea is a good rival and I am so happy he came here.”
The touchy subject of Jorginho was brought up with Pep confirming City almost had a done deal before Chelsea swopped in.
“So… yes, we were close. But in the end Jorginho decided [to join Chelsea].
“We thought it [Jorginho] was done, but at the last turn he decided to go to Chelsea. Similar to Alexis, he decided to go to United.”
The City boss also confirmed that 3-5-2 will be more of an option this season, particularly with Benjamin Mendy back and giving the squad more tactical flexibility.
“We’re going to use Mendy in different ways,” he said.
Manchester City have launched the 2018/19 away kit!
Pick up the Wembley 1999 inspired strip at the City Store!