Men's Team

Pep hopes for injury-free derby

MEDIA DAY: Pep addresses the media for the first time in China.
“No injuries” was Pep Guardiola’s answer when asked what his hopes are for the pre-season friendly against Manchester United at the Bird’s Nest Stadium.

There have been some concerns about the pitch following heavy rainfall in Beijing over the last week and Pep has admitted he wants to get through the game with his squad unscathed.

However, he admitted he is excited at the prospect of facing off against two “amazing” teams in the International Champions Cup.

He told journalists: “We didn’t see the pitch but there is a lot of water in the last days so we understand it’s not in a good condition but OK we’re going to adapt and adjust. It’s our second game of preparation – the most important thing is that the players are not going to be injured.

“We know the humidity for the training is not ideal but we also know that it’s so important to come here to know the people and to play a good two games against amazing teams like United and Dortmund.

“We don’t want to expend too much energy in training because of the humidity but we stay here, we play, and then go back to Manchester for two more weeks of preparation before the first official game.”

Pep confirmed that skipper Vincent Kompany will not be fit to play in the first Manchester derby to be played outside of the UK.

Refusing to put a date of return on the Belgian, he said: “The most important thing is for Vincent to get fit – if it’s for Sunderland, perfect – if it’s against the defending champions – great. He has to get fit. That’s all.”

Finally, asked if he would shake Jose Mourinho’s hand before kick-off, Pep laughed: “We are polite guys – why not? Why should we not shake hands? No reason why. He will want to win and so will I – that’s all.”

“I saw United’s game against Dortmund – it’s too early to know how they will be – I’m pretty sure they will be stronger than in previous years. Of course with this manager and with the good players they already had - I’m sure they will buy new players too - they will be a strong team.”

Fernandinho was present alongside his manager at the press conference where he admitted that he was pleased to have Pep on the same team for the first time.

The Brazilian said: “I’ve seen his former teams and played against Barcelona and Bayern Munich and of course it was very, very hard to play against them because they were great teams who won a lot of trophies. Now he’s on my side I hope we can win trophies together.

“Maybe I have another five or six years in my career and I hope to be happy with what I achieve.”

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