Guardiola wishes ‘Laporte and everybody’ were back for Manchester City

The Premier League champions have a crisis in defence and their coach wants his whole squad back together as soon as possible

Pep Guardiola says he wishes his Manchester City squad could be together, including long-term defensive absentee Aymeric Laporte, but concedes that a perfect situation isn’t possible in football.

Although John Stones has returned from injury in recent weeks the Premier League champions are still thin at the back, especially after injuries to Rodri and Oleksandr Zinchenko last week.

Fernandinho, who along with Rodri had been filling in central defence despite typically being seen as a midfielder, was sent off in Saturday’s win over Aston Villa, and Guardiola has been getting worried.

“I wish we had Laporte and everyone else come back,” he said.

“I hate one word which has been ‘complain’. Normally when I say something not nice it has been after a victory, never have I said it after a defeat.

“We were punished in some defeats and I shut my mouth. I would prefer to be all together.”

Fernandinho’s suspension will see him miss Tuesday’s Carabao Cup game against Southampton on Tuesday.

Guardiola said he had some options for that game but that playing youngsters or even players out of position was not a long-term solution.

“We have Academy [players], other solutions,” he added.

“When the spirit has been correct, when you want to help you will always get through [the difficult moment].

“The problem has been for the short time you can handle it, but for a long time I do not know.

“Of course, against top teams when you don’t have the players who play in their own position I don’t know what happens.

“But before it has been going to happen I am not going to say ‘it has been a disaster’. The ideal situation does not exist in football, especially over one long season.”

Southampton are also City’s next opponents in the Premier League.

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The Saints went down to a record defeat in getting trounced 9-0 by Leicester but Guardiola doesn’t expect that result to carry over into the next two matches.

“The manager will be sad for one night but after that they have to move forward,” he added.

“The players are professional, they are going to try and do their best. I am not going to judge Southampton or prepare for Southampton games based on a bad result against Leicester.”



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