When Manchester City splashed out £52 on Benjamin Mendy, he was expected to become a mainstay in the team. The Frenchman was rated as one of the best players in the world in his position before moving to England. Although he has justified the huge outlay with good performances for the team, they have not nearly been enough. With just 14 starts for the club in the last two seasons, it’s clear things can be much better. Hence, the Catalan manager has expressed his happiness at the prospect of having the 25-year-old back among the fold.
Mendy stepped up his recovery during pre-season as he underwent rehabilitation in Barcelona. He has recorded good progress and is getting close to being considered for selection. Guardiola has expressed his delight at the development.
”If Benjamin is fit he will have success. He has a special quality,” Guardiola stated in a recent interview.
”I am happy, but I don’t want to say too much. But I am satisfied because it has been two weeks and his recovery after training has been good. He doesn’t feel any pain and that is good.
”These kinds of traumatic injuries are a bit unlucky. One after another. He couldn’t take the rhythm for even half season or a long time. That is a concern but he’s now training good.”
Man City took their performance a notch higher against Tottenham. Despite failing to pick up the three points on offer, the team dominated a much-improved Spurs team that reached the Champions League final last term. Mendy’s return will add strength to the City team at the back. That could prove vital, especially in the big games.
After Liverpool’s comfortable 3-1 victory over Arsenal on Saturday, the pressure is already on. The Reds have maintained top spot with a 100℅ record early on. Jurgen Klopp is bent on dethroning City as champions. That means the Sky Blues must be at their best once again to retain the Premier League title. A lot will depend on the state of the defence as the team is well stocked upfront.
Seven goals in the first two league games of the campaign is a good return. But without keeping things tight at the back, a good performance could be ruined by poor defensive displays. It was Alex Ferguson, the ultimate trophy collector in England who once said:
”Goals win you games, but defences win you trophies.”
Guardiola’s huge investment in upgrading his defence lends credence to the fact. A back four of Mendy, Aymeric Laporte, John Stones and Kyle Walker cost the club more than £200 million. Add Joao Cancelo to the mix as a substitute and the amount is approaching £300 million.
That’s the biggest investment in the division despite Liverpool and Manchester United spending big to bolster their back lines in the last two seasons. Ordinarily that should produce the best defence in the league. But of course, City’s style of play will always leave spaces at the back that opponents can exploit. That said, the team will need to defend better than it has done against Tottenham in three of the last four games between the two sides.
Suffice to say that if our defence had held up against Mauricio Pochettino’s men last term, who knows, the Champions League trophy would have already graced the trophy cabinet at the Etihad Stadium. It’s no surprise then that Guardiola is delighted with Mendy’s recovery. The Frenchman will definitely help the team defend better to achieve more.