Pep Guardiola says he is disappointed that Phil Foden, John Stones and Ilkay Gundogan will not be part of Manchester City’s pre-season tour of the United States, admitting their absence contributes to “incredible problems” for his team.
City are currently in Houston, where they are preparing to take on Club America on Thursday before traveling to Green Bay for a game with Bayern Munich on Sunday.
But England internationals Foden and Stones, as well as Germany international Gundogan, will miss friendlies after failing to meet US entry requirements. Most travelers to the US are required to be fully vaccinated, which also prevented N’Golo Kante and Ruben Loftus-Cheek from participating in Chelsea’s pre-season trip to the country.
The trio are training with City’s under-23s in Croatia and will join the senior squad when they return from America, but Guardiola says his side’s inability to enjoy a full pre-season together could cost them when competitive fixtures begin next month. .
Asked if he was disappointed to be without Foden, Stones and Gundogan, the coach said: “Yes, very much. I wish they were here.
“The second season here [2017/18], when we finished with 100 points, that was the only preseason where we were all together from day one. Since then, four players always arrive, after a few weeks others more and we start the season with incredible problems. That’s why we drop many, many points early every season.
Manchester City matches
- Liverpool (N), Community Shield, Saturday 30 July, kick-off at 17:00
- West Ham (A), Premier League, Sunday 7th August, kick-off at 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports
- Bournemouth (H), Premier League, Saturday, August 13, 3:00 p.m.
- Newcastle (A), Premier League, Sunday 21 August, kick-off at 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports
- Barcelona (A), Friendly, Wednesday, August 24, 8:30 p.m.
- Crystal Palace (H), Premier League, Saturday 27th August, kick-off at 15:00
- Nottingham Forest (H), Premier League, Wednesday 31 August, kick-off at 7:30 p.m.
“This season I thought, ‘maybe we’re all together,’ but because of personal situations with these three players, and other situations with a few others, we can’t be together. We’re behind schedule but it is what it is. We’re going to come out.” Go ahead and today you have to adapt.
“Before, each preseason was three, four, five weeks together. Now it’s over, with the World Cup, the European Championship [European Championships] – many competitions.
“The players need to rest after a tough, tough season. But they are fit, they are training with the U23s in Croatia, and when they come back they will be fine.”
‘Neymar’s reports are false, I feel sorry for him!’
Another player who will not be part of City’s pre-season, or their entire campaign, is Neymar, despite a report in a French newspaper. the parisian that the striker had been offered to the English champions this summer.
But Guardiola dismissed the claims, saying: “I’m very sorry for the parisian but it is not true. I feel sorry for them because the information that was leaked to them was false.
“Neymar is an incredible player and, with the information I have, an incredibly nice guy. So leave him alone, let him express the enormous talent he has in Paris together with [Lionel] Messi and all the big stars they have.
“But I would say that Manchester City every season bought 150 players. It seems that we are interested in all the players in the world. You know that is not true. I feel sorry for Neymar of course!”
City bet on Cucurella to replace Zinchenko
However, City are keen to sign a new left-back and remain interested in Brighton’s Marc Cucurella, as Sky sports news revealed in June.
Brighton do not want to let Cucurella go and will demand a large offer to be able to sell given that the Spanish international has four years left on his contract.
But with Oleksander Zinchenko on the verge of a move to Arsenal, City need to strengthen themselves at left back, and Guardiola is relying on Txiki Begiristain, the club’s director of football, to find the right solution.
“We’ll see,” Guardiola said when asked about signing a new left-back. “I think that Txiki and his scouting department have names in all positions. Txiki will know exactly what is best for the team”.
Guardiola hailed the impact Zinchenko had at Manchester City and said any success the Ukraine international achieves at Arsenal will be shared by his former club.
Before Zinchenko’s move to the Emirates, the City boss said: “Just like Gabriel [Jesus] and Raheem [Sterling]The impact of those three players in the years I’ve been here has been massive.
“So we’re going to miss them. They are exceptional players but, due to different circumstances, they keep going.
“Chelsea and Arsenal are two incredible clubs and the success and happiness they will have there will be ours.
For me and I think on behalf of the club, our thanks for your effort and behavior on and off the pitch.
“It was nice yesterday with Oleks because we were able to say ‘goodbye’ properly. Unfortunately with Raheem and Gabriel we couldn’t because it was summer, but yesterday at dinner together we were able to say ‘goodbye’ to him.”
Walker: Haaland has big boots to fill
Erling Haaland, the £51m signing from Borussia Dortmund, is part of City’s US tour and could make his debut against Club America.
Kyle Walker says he is impressed with what he has seen from the striker, who has scored 85 goals in 88 appearances for Dortmund, but warned the 21-year-old that he has big boots to fill the form of City-record Sergio Aguero. Scorer who left the Etihad a year ago.
“Erling has been really good,” Walker said. “He is young, we have to take that into account.
“Obviously he has big responsibilities and probably big boots to fill with Aguero being the last. [Gabriel] Jesus – Manchester City striker.
“But from what I’ve seen in training, he looks strong, he looks powerful and he looks eager, and that’s the main thing. As long as you keep your standards, keep doing what you were doing in Dortmund and bring the same mentality and adapt. to the Premier League.
“We all know it’s very difficult. No one really comes into a team and starts working straight away, so it’s going to take time, but that’s up to us as players, coaches and the club in general to make sure we’re making it feel as good as possible. welcome possible.”