Here are your Manchester City morning headlines for Saturday, 26 September.
Mahrez reveals City’s four captains as injuries bite into club’s resources
Manchester City have just 13 senior players available for Sunday’s clash with Premier League leaders Leicester City, with injuries and positive Covid-19 tests biting deep into their resources.
Writing for MEN Sport, chief City writer Stuart Brennan says that the club will need all the character and leadership they can get.
He also points out that it might be a blessing that four of the unaffected stars have all been named as dressing room leaders by ex-Foxes ace Riyad Mahrez, another of the Blues’ players who will be OK to play.
The Algerian international, when asked who the dressing room leaders are these days, responded with Fernandinho, Kevin De Bruyne, Kyle Walker and Raheem Sterling.
Read the full story here .
City in talks with Benfica over international centre-back
City have stepped up their interest in Benfica defender Ruben Dias – and could offer Nicolas Otamendi in a swap deal.
Despite Nathan Ake’s arrival from Bournemouth, City still want to sign a new centre-back, with Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly their prime target.
However, with a move for the Senegal international stalling, Portuguese sources have confirmed that City have started serious talks over a move for Dias .
And the Blues could offer Argentine Otamendi in part-exchange for the 23-year-old, although reports in Portugal suggested Benfica are not interested in him and would prefer a straight cash deal.
Asked about Dias’ future, Benfica manager Jorge Jesus said: “He’s a player with a lot of value and is important in the sector that, at the moment, only has three options because we have not yet signed the defender we want.”
No excuses wanted by Pep
Pep Guardiola has warned his players that he will not allow their stunted pre-season, or subsequent injury crisis, to be used as an excuse.
Asked how the limitations of the coronavirus pandemic, and the way it has shortened and intensified the season, the City manager said : “We train less.
“Today the managers – not just for Covid-19– must use human resources or the guy who takes care (of that stuff) because we don’t have time for training or a practice match.”
He also made it clear that he wanted no whining about the problems.
Guardiola added: “I always thought the situations are the situations right now and that’s what it is.
“We would prefer four or five weeks to prepare but I like to convince these players, especially at this club or the clubs I came from, that excuses don’t exist.”