Pep Guardiola has vowed to continue making bold decisions when selecting his lineups, after surprisingly leaving Bernardo Silva as an unused substitute last week.
Bernardo was voted as Manchester City’s player of the year in their treble-winning campaign last season, but there was only room on the bench for him on the opening day as Guardiola handed Riyad Mahrez a starting berth.
And Guardiola admitted that he will have to make similar tough calls throughout the entire season due to the depth at his disposal.
“That is going to happen every weekend, every game,” he told reporters. “If everybody is fit then other players don’t play.
Raheem Sterling picked up from where he left off with a hat trick in the opening day win over West Ham, and Guardiola insisted the England winger can keep getting better when asked if he is now one of the most dangerous players in the division.
“There are many and he’s one of them. Look at the top six teams and you will find many, many players. The Premier League is incredible.
“We have many but even still. I didn’t watch all the other games but Sterling has played good from the beginning and been clinical.
“We want more. Everybody wants more and he wants more. It was just the first game.”
Another player who stood out on the opening day was Rodri, but Guardiola, ever the perfectionist, sees room for improvement in their new recruit.
“Rodrigo has to play better, so does everyone. He has potential as a young player, he’s tall, but he’s new. We have to see what we can do better. He’s smart and he will get it. Like everyone, he can do better.”
Starting alongside Rodri in the midfield was Kevin De Bruyne, who Guardiola insisted was highly motivated after missing much of last season through injury.
“I think Kevin has the same motivation as always. What happened last season doesn’t mean it is going to happen this season. He played an incredible amount of games and after the World Cup maybe came back tired but he has worked really well in pre-season to avoid it and be fit.
“Every midfield player has his own qualities. Kevin has his own special quality but David [Silva] has quality that nobody has, everybody has their own and tries to use it to be the best for him and the best for the team.”
Also battling his way back from injury is left-back Benjamin Mendy, with the City boss highlighting the small targets he has set for the Frenchman.
“What I want from Benjamin is for him to be fit. To be available for training sessions every week. He’s had almost two years out and he needs to play. The first target is be fit rather than to play. To train regularly for a month then he has a chance to play.”
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