Pep Guardiola, who will serve a touchline ban tomorrow night when Manchester City meet Lyon, decided not to attend today’s pre-match press conference. His trusted assistant, Mikel Arteta, who many are tipping to ultimately succeed Pep, took the hotseat instead and was joined by Aymeric Laporte.
Laporte offered a significant update on his international future, saying he is still almost certain to represent France – if selected – despite Spain’s interest in him and his eligiblity for them.
“I haven’t had any news either way (on international team selection),” said Laporte. “What was said regarding to me playing for Spain didn’t happen and it’s probably not possible.
“If anything I will play for France, if I get selected thats for the manager to decide.”
Laporte also had positive words about Arteta.
“Normally (Pep) is on the bench but we know what we need to do. We have guidance from Mikel, who works with us on a daily basis.
“Arteta has spent a lot of time with us, so as far as I’m concerned he’s a great coach.”
Arteta was asked about filling the (big) void left by Pep Guardiola on the touchline.
“I will try my best to try and reduce the impact of not having Pep on the touchline,” he responded.
And what about his own future as a coach, after almost joining Arsenal in the summer?
“First of all, I am privileged to be here and I am very fulfilled. But if you ask me one day will I be a head coach, the answer is probably yes.
“But we have fantastic momentum and there is lots of room for this Club to grow.”
Can City win the Champions League in Arteta’s opinion?
“That’s the aim (winning it). We have a young squad, they have gained experience and we feel better prepared than previous two years. Tomorrow it starts a new competition.”
As mentioned, Arteta came close to joining Arsenal as their head coach in the summer, only for the North London club to go for Unai Emery. And he is happy that he stuck around.
“Pep had a very clear role for me when he asked me to join the club. I had played in the Premier League for years. My learning here has been incredible. That will continue
“The decision to stay (in the summer) was made and I am so happy.”
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