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Pep’s Presser: De Bruyne and Walker fitness updates, Laporte/France, Fernandinho

Manchester City are in the Ukraine ahead of tomorrow night’s Champions League Group F tie against Shakhtar Donetsk.

Ahead of the game, Pep Guardiola spoke to the international press to offer some fitness updates and comment on City’s chances in this year’s Champions League.

Kevin De Bruyne, Benjamin Mendy and Kyle Walker are all available for selection tomorrow night.

Pep confirmed: “They are here because they are ready.”

Aymeric Laporte somehow remains uncapped at senior international level, despite a tug-of-war between France and Spain. Laporte wants to play for France, but France have yet to cap him. Guardiola had his say.

“Sooner or later Laporte will be selected for France because it is difficult to find a better left central defender than him in the world,” said Guardiola. “But of course it is good for the team for some of our players that are not selected for their countries to get rest.”

Some believe City are not on the same level as last year despite a fine start to the season, but Pep believes his team have performed well all season – except in the first half of one game.

“Other than the first 45 minutes against Lyon where we did not play the same way we have played all season; I think we have played well.

“We watch our players play every day and it is clear that they still enjoy to play football. The motivation is there.”

City’s veteran midfielder Fernandinho remains a key player with Guardiola short on alternatives as links to Frenkie de Jong and Ruben Neves continue. And the former Barcelona manager spoke very highly of his Brazilian charge.

“Fernandinho can help any manager be the happiest and luckiest manager in the world. He gives everything and it is a joy to have him as a player and he is a special player and person to work alongside.”

The Champions League trophy remains the missing piece of City’s growing trophy cabinet, and Pep believes it’ll take a collective effort to win it.

“The only way to survive is to win and I have to win. We will put effort in this season to win. To win this competition, desire is not enough. To win this title, everybody has to be pushed! The fans, the players, the staff, everyone!”

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