Does Man City's latest Champions League exit mean Pep Guardiola is overrated?

By George Davis, Mariah Ramharak&Lance Whittaker April 17, 2019

Pep Guardiola has not reached back to the final of the Champions League since leaving Barcelona.  Were those who appointed him the best coach in the world following his early successes too quick to do so?

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  • Stones still out but Zinchenko fit to face Bournemouth Stones still out but Zinchenko fit to face Bournemouth

    John Stones will be missing again for Manchester City against Bournemouth but Oleksandr Zinchenko is fit to start on Sunday.

    England defender Stones did not feature against Tottenham in the Premier League last week due to a thigh injury, with Nicolas Otamendi instead partnering Aymeric Laporte.

    The same duo are set to start again for City this week, as Guardiola offered little update on Stones other than to confirm his continued absence.

    "No, I don't know. He's not fit for this weekend," Guardiola told a news conference, before he was asked about next weekend and replied: "We'll see."

    There was better news on Zinchenko's fitness, however, after the left-back looked to be struggling during the closing stages of the 2-2 draw with Spurs.

    Guardiola confirmed the 22-year-old had merely been suffering from cramp and would be available at Bournemouth.

    "He's fit. He has been training. It was cramp," the manager said.

    "It was such a demanding game against Tottenham. We had incredibly tough games against Liverpool [in the Community Shield] and Tottenham and the people, at the end, were tired.

    "If we were more clinical in both boxes, the game in the last 20 minutes might have been easy. By going to 2-2, it's always so demanding. Against top teams, the physicality is tough.

    "We're not yet in the normal process of games every three days where the rhythm is there. It was cramp, but he's okay.

    New signing Joao Cancelo "is ready with his understanding", according to Guardiola, but he added the full City squad will not be needed until the fixtures ramp up following the international break.

    Cancelo would have been one option to replace Zinchenko had he missed out, but the City boss is not short of alternatives, with Benjamin Mendy also back in training.

    "On the left, we have Oleks, we have Angelino, we have Mendy coming back now in training all week with us," Guardiola said.

    "Normally, [Cancelo] would play right-back, but he can play left. Juventus played him left many times. He can play both sides and as a winger, too.

    "He can play several positions, but normally we think about him playing right-back because Kyle [Walker] cannot play every week every three days. It's impossible."

  • Guardiola: I doubted milestone man David Silva before City move Guardiola: I doubted milestone man David Silva before City move

    Pep Guardiola acknowledged he was among those who doubted David Silva would be a success at Manchester City as he lauded the midfielder's "just incredible" longevity.

    City captain Silva is set to make his 400th appearance for the club against Bournemouth on Sunday, having joined from Valencia in 2010.

    The Spaniard has played a part in four Premier League title wins, yet, to many, his diminutive stature and silky skills did not appear a good fit for English football.

    This was put to Guardiola in Friday's pre-match news conference and the City boss interjected to say he had similarly thought Silva might struggle before being proven spectacularly wrong.

    "Yep, me included [in those who thought Silva would struggle]," he said. "I think it's his character. It's not just his quality to move in small spaces, it's that he's a huge competitor.

    "In the training sessions, the games, in the bad moments, how he reacts, he is a huge competitor.

    "For his specific qualities to survive in the Premier League is not easy for a long time. And he did it. He has to be so proud of himself and what he has done.

    "He's a technical player - he's not a box-to-box - and my image of English football from the outside was that maybe he's going to falter. But I was happily, happily wrong.

    "That was my first impression, but from the beginning - it's not just that David played well this season - he was playing good with other managers, Roberto [Mancini], Manuel [Pellegrini], with us.

    "After I spoke with managers he had in Spain, what everybody speaks, I realised what I realised here. Everybody knows about his quality with the ball, but he's more than that. He's incredible.

    "He is a competitor, a winner. Four Premier Leagues he won, and a lot of domestic prizes. This generation of players - like Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany, Sergio Aguero - helped to make this club in a better position in the Premier League and in European competition."

    Discussing his appearance milestone, Guardiola said of Silva: "I admire a lot. What I admire the most is when you look at these records or numbers.

    "To do 400 games means many years, many bad moments, many good moments, being there day by day, week by week. I admire that a lot. You can have a good year, a good season, but almost 10 seasons here doing that is just incredible.

    "Big congratulations. For the City supporters - me included - it is a privilege what he has done at this club. Hopefully in the last season he is going to be here, he can help us to achieve."

  • Rodri can play in same Spain midfield as Busquets – Moreno Rodri can play in same Spain midfield as Busquets – Moreno

    Rodri could partner Sergio Busquets in a two-man midfield for Spain because of his "incredibly quality", according to national team boss Robert Moreno.

    Manchester City's club-record signing has adjusted well since moving to the Etihad Stadium, starting the club's opening two Premier League matches.

    The 23-year-old honed his playmaking abilities at LaLiga sides Villarreal and Atletico Madrid, with Rodri now considered a potential long-term national team successor to 31-year-old Barcelona mainstay Busquets.

    Although they perform similar roles at club level, Spain boss Moreno thinks the deep-lying pair could work in the same side.

    "Of course, if there is a match in which we consider that the opponent is good in the air, or that we need more physical players we will try, without losing our identity, to include the players that can improve us in that department," Moreno told El Pais.

    "I think we now have players that have many characteristics.

    "Rodri has incredible quality, but Fabian [Ruiz] too.

    "We have Koke and Saul [Niguez], who were not part of the squad last time, but who can give us that touch football and also that aggressiveness they have with [Diego Simeone]. We also like to have that.

    "Simeone's style, while not being the football that I propose, I love it."

    Spain return to Euro 2020 qualifying action next month with games against Romania and Faroe Islands.

    Moreno took charge on a permanent basis in June after Luis Enrique stepped down for family reasons.

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