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Thursday June 13, 2024

Guardiola guards against complacency after City’s perfect start

By AFP
September 23, 2023

LONDON: Pep Guardiola said Friday he was not getting carried away with Manchester City´s perfect start to the season, warning it was "just the beginning".

The defending champions have won all five games so far in the Premier League and are the only team with a 100 percent record. They also clinched the UEFA Super Cup against Sevilla on penalties and made a winning start to their Champions League campaign, with a 3-1 win over Red Star Belgrade in midweek.

But Guardiola said he was keeping his feet on the ground despite the flying start, pointing to his first season in charge at the Etihad Stadium in 2016/17. "When we arrived here seven or eight years ago we made six from six (at the start of the season) and we finished third. It´s just the beginning," Guardiola said.

England winger Jack Grealish could return for Saturday´s home game against Nottingham Forest in the Premier League. Grealish has missed the treble winners´ past three games with a knee injury and was also unavailable for international duty earlier this month.

The 28-year-old is now back in training, easing Guardiola´s injury concerns after Bernardo Silva this week joined a casualty list that also includes Kevin De Bruyne, John Stones and Mateo Kovacic.

"We need the injured players back because we have a lot of games and we cannot play with the same players," said the City boss. "Jack is coming back. He has trained well and maybe he will be ready for some minutes. Kova is almost there, he´s in the last part of the recovery but now we´ve lost Bernardo. John and Kevin are still out."

Guardiola has given little information on the nature of Silva´s problem other than to confirm he faces a short spell on the sidelines. "He has a little injury," he said. "It is nothing much. The clinical development is good but it could be one week, 10 days, two weeks that he will be out."

Guardiola said he was wary of the challenge from Steve Cooper´s eighth-placed Forest, who held his side to a 1-1 draw at their own ground in February. "They are physical and well organised," he said. "We have to be careful but we are optimistic we can do what we have to do, with our people, to make the sixth win in a row."

Man Utd ‘fighting’ to turn season around: Ten Hag

LONDON: Erik ten Hag said on Friday that Manchester United are fighting together to try and turn their fortunes around after a calamitous start to the season.

The Red Devils have lost four of their first six matches in all competitions, leaving the Dutch manager with a major task on his hands just over a month into the new campaign.

United travel to face struggling Burnley on Saturday languishing in 13th place in the Premier League -- they have lost 18 of their past 35 away matches in all competitions.

"It´s my second year," said Ten Hag, whose team last season finished third in the table and ended a six-year trophy drought.

"I know it´s not always only going up -- you will have your gaps and you get stronger from it as long as you stay together, and that´s what we´re doing. "The dressing room, staff, all the staff, coaches, medical, everyone is united and at United you fight."