Wembley pitch won't affect Pep Guardiola's Man City selection against Tottenham

Andy Hampson 26/10/2018
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Pep Guardiola insists the state of the Wembley pitch will not affect his selection for Manchester City‘s Premier League clash with Tottenham on Monday.

The match comes the day after the Jacksonville Jaguars take on the Philadelphia Eagles at the national stadium and there has been concern about what the condition of the surface might be.

Spurs had originally hoped the game would be played at their new stadium but, with that not yet complete, an alternative had to be found.

Guardiola accepts the solution is not ideal but will not hold back any players, including Kevin De Bruyne, who only made his first start after two months out injured in midweek.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, the City boss said: “It’s what it is. I’m pretty sure Tottenham have a good greenkeeper.

“I’m pretty sure the Premier League don’t like it, Tottenham too, but hopefully Tottenham can finish the stadium as quickly as possible. It’s not necessary to complain, we have to adapt quickly, try to figure it out. It will not be perfect but we have to adapt and play in that way.”

Asked specifically about De Bruyne, Guardiola said: “When you have full focus on what you have to do you avoid injuries. Normally injuries happen when you are not 100 per cent focused.

“When you take care of yourself properly and focus, knowing that the pitch may not be in the best condition and you have to be more ready than ever. We are going to take a decision which is the best line-up.”

The return of De Bruyne after a knee problem has given Guardiola more options in a squad that is already in outstanding form.

Leroy Sane and Sergio Aguero were among the players who sat out Tuesday’s Champions League victory at Shakhtar Donetsk and Guardiola admits that was harsh.

De Bruyne is back in the mix for Man City.

De Bruyne is back in the mix for Man City.

Guardiola said: “It’s always a problem because I am unfair. Guys who don’t play deserve to play. It’s always like this.

“When they are training in a bad way they are out of the selection for themselves – but this doesn’t happen. It will be tough, I will be unfair.

“But they are professionals, they know what it is. When they are not selected they are not happy, after the game they are not happy.

“But they have to come back happy for the training session. They have to be happy – no other solution.”

Guardiola will not be afraid to get tough with players who do not respond in the correct way.

He said: “If they have bad faces, bad moods or want to show how disappointed they are, they will have a big problem because they are not going to play.

“I understand completely, but the day they come back to training, the next game is here and they can convince me. But they are quite good, they are amazing professionals.”

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Everton boss Marco Silva paying no attention to Romelu Lukaku's goal drought

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Marco Silva is not taking the threat of Romelu Lukaku or Manchester United lightly as he leads his Everton side to Old Trafford targeting a fourth successive Premier League win.

The powerful former Everton striker has drawn a blank on his last eight United starts and his woes in front of goal have mirrored the Red Devils’ travails this season, with the club sitting 10th.

Everton are one point and two places better off courtesy of their recent hot streak, but Silva remains wary of how menacing United can be and is paying no attention to Lukaku’s goal drought.

“Man United is always dangerous, always a very good team and always a strong side for all the opponents they can play against,” the Everton manager said.

“When you are talking about Lukaku, when a striker doesn’t score in the last games it is normal to criticise him, it happened the same with some of our strikers before.

“But I think Lukaku and the Man United team have the quality to do the good things. We have to do everything that we can to achieve a good result and to stop them.

“A good result for us is always thinking we can win the game.”

Silva

United boss Jose Mourinho has come under scrutiny for the club’s modest start to the campaign, yet Silva is convinced his fellow Portuguese can turn the tide.

“He’s a good friend, good man and a very good manager,” Silva added. “For me it’s clear, Jose is changing nothing in his behaviour from what I can see.

“I think he’s the same coach who brought fantastic success to Chelsea twice, did the same at Porto, Inter Milan and Real Madrid.

“Now it is a different challenge for him at Man United and he’s doing his best for sure to achieve what he wants.”

Everton have not won four in a row in the top-flight for more than two years but Silva insists the chance to do so will have no bearing on his game plan.

“Nothing changes in our plan, in our week, because we can do the four in a row or not, we prepare all the weeks in the same way: to do our maximum and with a big ambition during the week to prepare well,” he said.

Everton have no new injury or suspension concerns, a welcome relief for Silva after the start of his reign was blighted by issues to several first-team players.

“Everything is OK,” Silva said. “Finally everything is OK, all of them are OK.

“It’s really important for me, it’s important for us as a squad, the competition is harder inside every day and it is what I want. In this way we can grow and get better every day.”

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Liverpool's Naby Keita and Jordan Henderson ruled out of Cardiff visit

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Naby Keita has joined fellow midfielder Jordan Henderson in being ruled out of Liverpool‘s Premier League clash with Cardiff on Saturday.

Boss Jurgen Klopp has revealed Keita will sit things out for a third successive match in all competitions due to the hamstring injury he picked up while on international duty with Guinea.

Klopp had already said earlier in the week that Henderson, who has a hamstring issue of his own, would miss the match against the Bluebirds.

Provisional squad: Alisson, Mignolet, Clyne, Van Dijk, Lovren, Gomez, Moreno, Robertson, Matip, Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Milner, Lallana, Shaqiri, Firmino, Mane, Salah, Sturridge, Origi, Solanke.

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