Pep impressed with Man City owner but has to ‘deliver’

Date published: Tuesday 28th February 2017 3:59

Pep Guardiola: Met City's owner for the first time

Pep Guardiola is pleased with how his first meeting with Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour went – but is well aware he needs to deliver.

City took advantage of a free weekend to travel to Abu Dhabi for a warm-weather training camp last week and spent time with the ambitious club’s hierarchy during the trip.

It was the first time Guardiola had met with the sheikh, whose largesse has transformed City in the past nine years, since the Spaniard’s much-heralded arrival at the Etihad Stadium last summer.

Guardiola said: “With (chairman) Khaldoon (Al Mubarak) we speak regularly – the last period he came often here – but the other people we met for the first time, (including) Sheikh Mansour.

“I was really impressed that he knew absolutely everything about us. It was nice to meet him and spend a few hours together.

“He is so happy because he sees all the games and he sees the effort, he demands it. He knows we give absolutely everything and we fight until the end.

“It was nice because it is important for us to know the president. I had good relations with almost all my owners in Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

“But they know, we know, all the managers and owners know, that we are here because of the results. If the results are not good we are going to be replaced by another. I replaced another manager.”

A Premier League title in Guardiola’s first season now seems unlikely with City 11 points behind leaders Chelsea, albeit with a game in hand.

But their Champions League challenge is still alive having beaten Monaco 5-3 in the first leg of their last-16 tie last week.

They are also still in the FA Cup and host Sky Bet Championship high-flyers Huddersfield in a fifth-round replay on Wednesday.

Captain Vincent Kompany is still troubled by a leg injury and has been ruled out of the clash despite initial hopes he would be fit.

The Belgian, who has endured an injury-plagued campaign, has been out since the first encounter against the Terriers on February 18.

“Not tomorrow,” said Guardiola when asked at his pre-match press conference if the 30-year-old would be fit. “He is much better but not ready.”

Asked when Kompany might return, Guardiola said “soon” and that he “definitely” could play a full part in the remainder of the season.

Guardiola also said he was still to decide who would play in goal. Willy Caballero now seems to have taken over as first choice due to the failure of Claudio Bravo to make an impact since controversially displacing England number one Joe Hart earlier in the season.

Caballero has played four of the last five games, with Bravo playing in the game at Huddersfield.

Guardiola said: “I have to think about it – not just with our goalkeepers – for the line-up.

“We were one week out so it is not about how tired they are, more a final against one team who impressed a lot when we played there.

“I have to think about it after the training session. I am not thinking about who is the first one, who is the second one. We are going to decide game by game.”

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