Pep Guardiola says he is disappointed Phil Foden, John Stones and Ilkay Gundogan are not present for Manchester City’s pre-season tour of the US, admitting their absences contribute to “incredible problems”. for his team.
City are currently in Houston, where they are set to meet Club America on Thursday before traveling to Green Bay for Sunday’s game against Bayern Munich.
But England players Foden and Stones, plus Germany international Gundogan, will miss the friendlies after failing to meet US entry requirements. Most visitors to the US are required to be fully vaccinated, which also prevents N’Golo Kante and Ruben Loftus-Cheek from joining Chelsea’s pre-season trip to the country.
The trio are training with Man City’s Under-23s in Croatia and will join the senior squad when they return from the US, but Guardiola says his team’s failure to enjoy a full pre-season could put them off. must pay when the game schedule begins next month.
Asked if he was disappointed without Foden, Stones and Gundogan, the manager said: “Yes, a lot. I want them here.
“The second season is here [2017/18], when we finished with 100 points, that was the only pre-season where we were together from day one. Since then, always four players come in, then a few weeks later, some other players and we start the season with unbelievable problems. That’s why we drop a lot of points at the beginning of the season.
“This season, I was thinking, ‘maybe we’ll be together’, but due to individual situations with these three players and other situations with some of the others, we can’t be together. We are delayed but it is so We are moving forward and today you have to adapt.
“Before, every pre-season was three, four, five weeks together. Now it’s over, with the World Cup, the Euro cup. [European Championships] – many contests.
“The players need to rest after a difficult, hard season. But they are fit, they are training with Croatia U23s, and when they come back, they will be fine.”
Another player who will not be involved in Man City’s pre-season – or indeed their entire campaign – is Neymar, despite a report in the French newspaper. Le Parisien that the striker has been offered to the English champions this summer.
But Guardiola dismissed the claims, saying: “I’m so sorry for Le Parisien but it is not true. I am very sorry for them because the information they leaked is untrue.
“Neymar is an incredible player and, given the information I have, an incredibly nice guy. So let’s keep him calm, let him show the huge talent he has there. Paris with [Lionel] Messi and all the big stars they have.
“But I can say Manchester City have bought 150 players every season. It seems we are interested in all the players around the world. You know that’s not true. Of course, I’m sorry for Neymar. !”
However, Man City want to sign a new left-back and remain interested in Brighton’s Marc Cucurella, as Sky Sports News was revealed back in June.
Brighton do not want to let Cucurella go and will demand a big offer to sell the Spaniard with four years left on his contract.
But with Oleksander Zinchenko is about to move to ArsenalCity need to strengthen their left-back, and Guardiola is counting 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 Txiki and his scouting department have names in every position. Txiki will know exactly what is best for the team.”
Walker: Haaland has big boots to fill
Erling Haaland, a £51m signing from Borussia Dortmund, is part of City’s tour of the US and could make his debut against Club America.
Kyle Walker says he’s impressed with what he’s seen from the striker, who has scored 85 goals in 88 games for Dortmund, but warns the 21-year-old he has big boots to fill in shape by Sergio Aguero, Man City’s record. the scorer left Etihad a year ago.
“Erling was really good,” Walker said. “He’s young – we have to take that into consideration.
“Obviously he has big responsibilities and perhaps big shoes to fill with Aguero being the last – bar [Gabriel] Jesus – starting striker for Manchester City.
“But from what I’ve seen in training, he looks strong, he looks strong and he looks eager, and that’s the main thing. As long as he keeps his standards, keep going. keep doing what he did at Dortmund and bring the mentality to adapt to the Premier League.
“We all know it’s very difficult. Nobody really joins a team and hits the ground immediately so he’ll need time, but it’s up to us as players, manager and the entire club to make sure we make him feel as welcome as possible.”