Guardiola changes tune over Kane; explains why this season will be harder

Pep Guardiola Man City Chelsea

Pep Guardiola refused to discuss Harry Kane ahead of Manchester City’s Premier League opener against Tottenham Hotspur, despite making an exception recently.

It was somewhat refreshing to hear Guardiola speaking openly about City’s interest in Kane at a recent press conference. Despite his acknowledgement of their interest, though, he was respectful and admitted a deal would be difficult. Now, he has changed his tune, refusing to talk about the striker on the eve of a game in which they will be on opposite sides.

City visit Tottenham on Sunday afternoon, and the hosts will hope to have Kane available in their own colours, depending on his fitness after returning from training.

Nuno Espirito Santo confirmed that Kane could feature. Opposite number Guardiola, though, would not take the opportunity to speak again about their attempts to sign the England captain.

“I answered this question the previous press conference,” Guardiola said this time. “He’s a player from Tottenham, I’m not going to talk about him.

“I made an exception last time, usually I don’t talk about transfers.”

The addition of Kane would make City a frightening force, having already added Jack Grealish to their title-winning squad from last season.

Despite the prospect of an already dominant side getting even better, Guardiola believes the competition is getting tougher.

“Every season since I arrived I have had the feeling it’s tougher, stronger, better teams,” he said.

“Every season is a new challenge. We celebrated our title but now it’s in our cabinet, in our memories, and we start again.”

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One trophy that is still not in City’s cabinet is the Champions League, after they were beaten by Chelsea in last season’s final.

They also missed out on silverware when FA Cup winners Leicester beat them for the Community Shield last week.

However, looking back on the 2020-21 season as a whole, Guardiola classed their achievements as “exceptional”.

“It was unbelievable, it was great,” he said. “It was an exceptional season.

“We were disappointed, of course, to lose the final but after one or two days, when you are more calm, you can say, ‘Wow’ and how good it was.”

Guardiola gives De Bruyne update

One of the disappointing factors that emerged from the Champions League final a few months back was the injury that Kevin De Bruyne suffered after a collision with Antonio Rudiger.

He battled back to play for Belgium at Euro 2020, but did not look his usual self. Then, he suffered a separate injury to his ankle, which has affected him over pre-season.

Guardiola hopes to have his playmaker at full strength soon, but cast doubt on his availability in the immediate future.

“He’s getting better, every day but we’re still waiting,” Guardiola said. “He cannot do the full training session.

“We’ll see what happens in the next days.”

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