Pep Guardiola insists he has no issues with Manchester City Benjamin Mendy, amid questions about the defender’s lifestyle.
The left-back has endured two injury-ravaged seasons since joining Manchester City and his off-field lifestyle has also raised questions about his professionalism.
The 24-year-old currently appears to be out of favour having been overlooked for selection since recovering full fitness following knee surgery last November.
Mendy was disciplined earlier this season for reporting late for treatment after attending a high-profile boxing event in London the previous night. He was also spotted in a nightclub in the early hours of last Saturday morning following his omission from the squad to play at Fulham.
But City manager Guardiola says he is still keen to get the best out of the Frenchman, a £49.1million signing in the summer of 2017.
Guardiola said: “Yes, of course I am happy. He’s a nice guy, he has an incredible heart, he is a funny guy.
“Sometimes, I have to understand his own culture, where he has come from.
“It’s not the first time that one guy goes to dinner outside because he doesn’t have a game, and goes with his brother and his friend, to eat something, to drink something. It’s not the first time, and it will not be the last one.
“What we want to do is work with him to protect his knee, his condition, to help us, because we need him.
“Hopefully this part of the season and in the future, next season, he can be fit.”
Mendy could be recalled for Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Brighton, with Oleksandr Zinchenko, who has impressed as a makeshift left-back this term, out for around 10 days with a hamstring injury.
Guardiola, however, was non-committal about the situation when asked at a press conference ahead of the Wembley clash. Other options would include Danilo and Aymeric Laporte.
“I’ve almost decided but of course I can’t (tell you),” he said.
Guardiola confirmed top scorer Sergio Aguero could return after missing the midweek win over Cardiff with a muscle problem.
“He is almost fit, he’s travelling,” he said.
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