Guardiola admits Man City defender was spoken to over late arrival

Date published: Friday 28th September 2018 3:45 - Oli Fisher

Pep Guardiola has spoken to Benjamin Mendy after the Manchester City full-back turned up late for his treatment session on Sunday.

Mendy, who is currently sidelined by a foot problem, was at Wembley on Saturday night to support Anthony Joshua in his world heavyweight boxing title victory over Alexander Povetkin.

Speaking at his press conference ahead of Saturday’s clash with Brighton, Guardiola initially played down the incident, saying: “That happens sometimes, in the last period a lot have arrived late because of the traffic.

“Manchester is under construction, the players arrive late. They have to drop their kids at school.”

Pressed further on the fact Mendy’s lateness occurred on a Sunday morning, Guardiola, who has already warned the Frenchman about his social media use this season, said: “He should be here. He knows it. I spoke with him.”

Guardiola remained vague on when Mendy, who has only made 14 appearances for City since a £52million move from Monaco last summer, is likely to return from his latest injury setback.

He will not be in the squad against Brighton and neither will playmaker Kevin De Bruyne, but the Belgian is closing in on a comeback from the knee injury he suffered last month.

“He’s making the last steps,” said Guardiola.

“He starts training I think in the next days, part of the training session with us. Everything is going well.”

One player pushing for a place in the starting line-up is 18-year-old midfielder Phil Foden, who starred in City’s Carabao Cup victory over Oxford in midweek, earning comparisons to Barcelona great Andres Iniesta.

Foden has yet to make his full Premier League debut, but Guardiola insisted he would have no qualms about throwing him in, saying: “It’s about my decisions. He’s ready to play, he can start in any competition in any game. After that, he has to compete with his team-mates and sometimes it’s not possible.”

There have been recent reports that City are ready to open talks with the teenager about a new contract – his current deal expires in 2020.

Guardiola said: “I think Phil likes to be here and the club has no doubt about that, the manager has no doubt about that, so hopefully it’s going to happen sooner or later. But I’m never involved in these kind of situations.”

Foden laughed off the Iniesta link, and Guardiola urged patience, saying the Under-17 World Cup winner needs to ignore the hype

“Don’t read too much, don’t watch too much,” added the City boss. “He has to make his own career and (go) step by step. Football is up and down a lot.”

The Brighton clash comes at the start of a week which also includes a Champions League trip to Hoffenheim and a meeting with Premier League pace-setters Liverpool at Anfield next Sunday.

Not that Guardiola will be allowing his players to look beyond Chris Hughton’s side, who have already beaten Manchester United and pushed Liverpool.

Guardiola said: “If they want to play Hoffenheim and Liverpool, they have to play every single day as best as possible. Now it’s Brighton and I know what they have done against United at home, they were so close to getting points at Anfield.

“It’s a good side and a good manager. They are together for a long time, they know exactly what they have to do. They are really well organised, so it will be a really tough game.”


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