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Pep’s (Birthday) Presser: Bielsa/Leeds spying, Mendy return update, Fernandinho replacement

Next up for Manchester City are the Premier League’s basement boys Huddersfield Town, who were rocked during the week when their popular German coach, David Wagner, decided to move on.

How will Huddersfield respond? On his 48th birthday, Pep Guardiola spoke to the assembled media at the CFA this afternoon to discuss the latest issues.

First up, Guardiola was asked about the big story of the week after one of his managerial idols, Marcelo Bielsa, who coaches Leeds, admitted to spying on opponents. Does it affect Pep’s admiration for ‘El Loco’?

“My respect remains the same, absolutely the same,” Pep said of Bielsa. “I admired what he has done in the past, why should I change my opinion? I know him, I would not say perfectly, but a little bit. I understand Frank Lampard too, both sides are understandable.

“Barcelona was a bunker, it was impossible to see. The story is true. I saw the highlights, I didn’t see the whole press conference and no manager around the world works with the amount of information he produces for every single game and players. It is unique. What I learned from what he said is that football belongs to the players. The players make the difference.”

Benjamin Mendy is very, very close to a return with Pep confirming he has taken part in a number of training sessions. But he won’t be back for the weekend game.

“Mendy is closer but not ready for this weekend.

“He has had three or four training sessions with the team and it’s going well but now it is time to get him to his best condition.”

The boss confirmed he will use some EDS players in the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg against Burton, but the scheduling of the youth team playing Sunderland a day before in the Checkatrade Trophy has complicated things.

“We are going to save a few EDS players for Burton but I don’t have many of them unfortunately – they cannot play both Tuesday and Wednesday.”

Aguero or Jesus on Sunday? Even Pep isn’t sure, but knows both will get games!

“I am going to play one or both – I don’t know. There are many games and everyone is going to play a lot. We don’t know what will happen in the future.”

How are City looking to replace Fernandinho? Guardiola admitted it will be tough, but they have their eyes on some players.

“We need a guy who has physicality, can read where our spaces are to attack. As many things as he can do, the better. It’s not easy to find one player who can do everything and the price, the agent, and the club. We will see.

“We have seen three or four that we are searching for in that position.”

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