Ahead of the Champions League match with Dinamo Zagreb Pep Guardiola spoke to the media on a variety of topics.
“The Catalan sees the Stockport-born Academy graduate as Silva’s natural successor and feels he has all the tools to emulate the brilliant Spaniard.”
“That is our wish,” he said ahead of our final Champions League group stage game against Dinamo Zagreb.
“David is a legend. The amount of games and titles [he has]. We believe he [Phil] can do it.”
On areas of improvement-
“In some departments he can improve,” added the 48-year-old.
“Without the ball. Because he is so young, sometimes he has to think more about decision making, especially without the ball.
“It’s normal for his age. His development is perfect. We are satisfied with what he’s doing when he trains and when he plays.”
“David had a huge kick in the dangerous part of his leg and it was too much of a risk to play,” said Guardiola on Tuesday evening.
“John is injured for a few weeks. Sergio is much better, but is still not ready. I don’t know [how long he will be out].”
On young players-
“Yeah,” he added when asked if the Spaniard has a chance to play. “We have two and Eric. Of course, Rodri can play there.”
“We have the two young players,” Guardiola explained.
“We have many injuries. The rest of the squad is here. We are going to put out the best squad in the circumstances.
“Of course, we have already qualified and the Premier League is more important right now than the Champions League.
“We are going to make some changes, but we have a good squad to try to compete and to get a good result.”
Lastly, we had some words from Ilkay Gundogan who looks poised to start v Zagreb after missing the Manchester Derby-
“Tomorrow is a new challenge, a new competition. The game starts from zero. It’s about ourselves, putting a good performance on the pitch to try and win the game,” declared Gundogan.
“It’s a great feeling to be in the knockout stage already. We also have a responsibility, to ourselves to play a good game and perform tomorrow. In our squad, there is so much quality, anything else would be stupid.
“We want to perform well tomorrow and we’ll play to try and win. Hopefully we’re able to do that.
“Of course, there is a bit of lack of confidence when you lose games, when you recognise you didn’t play as well as you could. I think we are strong, especially mentally. We should be able to do our best in every game.
“After having two great seasons it is even tough to perform the third one in a row… it’s also the challenge. If you want to be at the top, you have to play the same successful football each season.
“The only way out of this (tough period) is to stick together. Every single player must take responsibility to reach their best level again. The sooner we try, the sooner we will be successful. It is a challenge, we accept it.”
“When I saw them play Atalanta it wasn’t just the result that impressed,” Gundoigan added.
“They could have scored much more goals. Playing them in the second group game showed how tough a test it is to play them.
“We couldn’t score in the first half. We scored in the middle of the second and then very late for the second goal. Over 90 minutes it was a very tough game. I’m expecting a tougher and more difficult game tomorrow here.”
Staying with the Champions League, it might behoove Pep to rotate the squad a bit having already qualified to the next round. We will find out soon.
Thoughts, City fans?