Guardiola has special mention for Man City youngster after cup progress

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola was delighted with the performance of young defender Taylor Harwood-Bellis after the 4-1 FA Cup third-round win over Port Vale.

Tom Pope delighted around 8,000 travelling Vale fans when he cancelled out an Oleksandr Zinchenko strike at the Etihad Stadium, but the holders class eventually shone through as they eased into round four.

Sergio Aguero, Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Phil Foden also got on the scoresheet for City in a convincing win over the League Two side.

And Guardiola enjoyed playing host to lower division opposition.

He said: “It was a pleasure. It is nice for us to be a host for these clubs in League Two, who are struggling and can come here and play.

“Players meet with players and realise at the end we are the same. We play at a different level but in the end the dreams are the dreams.”

Guardiola, who made seven changes, was pleased with the final outcome.

Guardiola said: “We are in the next round after (playing) an incredible amount of games (in recent weeks).

“We played seriously. In the first half we struggled a little bit but the second half was much better. We created a lot of chances and in general the team was OK.”

Harwood-Bellis’ goal was a first in senior football for the 17-year-old defender but it was a fortunate deflection off a Stones shot.

Guardiola said: “It is a little bit of a weird goal, but in the end it was a goal.

“But the important thing is he played at a good level. Eric (Garcia) and Taylor, both are young and have played more than well.”


Meanwhile, Leicester are one of two clubs to have submitted a bid in excess of €40m for Juventus defender Merih Demiral, according to a report.

Demiral, who has also been linked with Arsenal and Manchester United in recent weeks, is struggling to settle under Juve boss Maurizio Sarri having only made five appearances in all competitions this term.

The Turkish international’s distinct lack of game time has led him to be linked with a move away from Turin and it would seem he has Premier League suitors.

The source says that the Foxes’ bid comes after Manchester City’s €45m attempt to sign Leicester’s Caglar Soyuncu. Read more…