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City v Shakhtar: Otamendi and Gundogan back

PRESS CONFERENCE: Pep Guardiola addresses the media ahead of the game

PRESS CONFERENCE: Pep Guardiola addresses the media ahead of the game

Pep Guardiola says he has close to a fully fit squad as Manchester City prepare for Wednesday’s Champions League game against Shakhtar Donetsk.

Both Ilkay Gundogan and Nicolas Otamendi are fit and in contention to play, leaving only Kevin De Bruyne, Claudio Bravo and Eliaquim Mangala as absentees.

Gundogan has been out for five weeks with a hamstring injury, while Otamendi hasn’t played since the 3-0 win over Shakhtar in Ukraine a fortnight ago after suffering a knock.

“They are ready,” he said. “Except Kevin and Manga, they are ready.”

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After losing our first Group F game at home to Lyon, City have bounced back with two away victories - against Hoffenheim and Shakhtar - to move us top of the table, one point ahead of the French side.

A win tomorrow coupled with a defeat for Hoffenheim would see City progress to the last-16 of this year’s competition.

It's a vital game but with Manchester United visiting the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, is Guardiola tempted to rotate his squad?

“Every game is important, and you have to evaluate,” he said.

“Shakhtar is the most important because it’s the first one. After dropping points against Lyon every game is a final.

“We have a chance to step into next round, then we have three or four days to think about United.”

READ: Walker 

READ: City v Shakhtar | Match Preview

Meanwhile, Guardiola heaped praise on David Silva after he delivered another virtuoso display in the 6-1 win over Southampton on Sunday. 

The Spanish midfielder is enjoying another stellar season for the Blues and remains the fulcrum of our attacking play, despite now being 32.

Guardiola says his movement and intelligence mean he has enduring qualities, hailing him as one of the most technically-gifted players in world football.

“He is one of the most incredible players playing in the pocket, the space in between players,” Guardiola said.

“He moves in those spaces. Few players can do it, and he is a master at that. He is enjoying it a lot.

“The fact he played for so long in Premier League says everything. I love being alongside him every day.

“He has lasted so long because he plays football better than the other ones. A footballer can survive, when he moves in a more intelligent way.

“He is better, more intelligent than the other ones, and intelligent players can survive.”

SILVA SHINES: David is October's Valvoline Midfield Engine award winner



David Silva wins Valvoline award for October

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