Let’s face it, it’s not been the best week for Pep Guardiola and Manchester City. Their Premier League Asia Trophy final loss to Wolves topped off a dismal time in China as part of their pre-season tour which looked destined for failure from the get-go, with the performances of Kevin de Bruyne and new signing Rodri the only things to shout about.
It all started when the Citizens were two days late arriving in China following unexpected problems with their flight with conditions in China then leaving Guardiola’s players unable to train.
“We try to sleep during the night. We want to survive,” said Guardiola. “We have incredible jet lag. We cannot train, we need to keep energy for the match day.”
Manchester City kicked off their Premier League Asia Trophy campaign with a 4-1 win over West Ham United with David Silva, Lukas Nmecha and a brace from Raheem Sterling cementing a place in the final but a defeat on penalties to Nuno Espírito Santo’s Wolverhampton brought City’s poor time in China to an end.
Guardiola opted to start Rodri – who arrived for a club record fee from Atletico Madrid – Kevin de Bruyne, Leroy Sane, Aymeric Laporte and John Stones against a strong Wolves side, but it still wasn’t enough to secure pre-season silverware.
De Bruyne’s return to fitness reminisced that of his 2017 Premier League form.
“He’s been top. Unfortunately, last season we missed him a lot. We did incredibly well without him, but we are stronger with him. Hopefully he can keep his level,” said Guardiola following the defeat. “He’s incredibly positive in his mind and his quality speaks for itself.”
One player that will have to prove himself is Leroy Sane.
The Germany international – who has been heavily linked with a move to Bayern Munich – has failed to find his form for Manchester City this pre-season. The 23-year-old won the penalty but slowed down the tempo of the final against Wolves on too many occasions, much to the disappoint of Guardiola.
That said, the talent within Sane is there and despite falling behind the pecking order of Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez, Sane’s importance to Manchester City is integral and it’s clear to see why Pep Guardiola wants him to remain at the Premier League club.
“Leroy is out player and hopefully he can stay,” said the Spaniard. “For a long time they talk about their interest.”
Sane has been the subject of numerous failed attempts from Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich to lure the German to the Allianz Arena. Perhaps a transfer could still happen, but only time will tell with just over one month remaining in the German transfer market.
How well do you know English football? Want to challenge the best English Fantasy Managers? Play www.epl-fantasy.com now.