Guardiola concerned by Manchester City’s defensive options but glad Mendy is back

Hurt by injuries and loss of form in defense the Cityzens head coach has been worried, but unlikely to sign reinforcements in January

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says he has been worried about a lack of defensive cover at the Premier League champions as an injury crisis continues.

A combination of injuries and lack of form among his central defenders has led the Spaniard to start Rodri and Fernandinho, both more usually found in midfield, as centre-halves in the last two matches.

Rodri was injured in City’s Champions League game against Atalanta in midweek and has been expected to be missing until December, and although John Stones replaced him, the England international has not played in consecutive matches since February. Aymeric Laporte will not be back until well into 2020.

Despite admitting to being worried about the paucity of options at his disposal Guardiola doesn’t think City will be in the market in January.

“When I’m thinking after the international break, November, December, January, February – yes I’m a little bit concerned because in a few positions we don’t have enough players,” the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach told a press conference.

“January window we are not going, well I think we are not going to buy. The club didn’t introduce me to the players they thought could help us so, without that, it’s not going to happen.

“Our need has been not just for six months, it’s for a long time and the important players will not be sold. We are going to stay all the season, I think, with all the players we have right now.”

Guardiola can look to Benjamin Mendy to play more after the France international’s comeback in recent weeks.

Oleksandr Zinchenko had been playing in Mendy’s left-back berth, but he has been also injured and underwent surgery in Spain this week.

Mendy has had a torrid time with injury since moving to England from Monaco but his coach has been cautiously optimistic he will be able to have a sustained run of games.

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“He played 90 minutes against Crystal Palace and 70-75 minutes in an incredibly demanding game against Atalanta and he has been not injured,” the 48-year-old continued.

“I think it has been coming if he can play regularly. With games he can get to his best level. He’s not at the level we believe he can be, but that’s normal after two seasons out. He needs time.

“Hopefully he can be fit. If he’s fit, he can train every day, it’s going to happen.”



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