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Team news: Guardiola provides squad update

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

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

Pep Guardiola confirmed all of his squad, bar Fernandinho and Benjamin Mendy, are in contention for Sunday’s Community Shield clash.

The Premier League Champions lock horns with runners-up Liverpool in the traditional season curtain-raiser at Wembley Stadium.

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While the majority of the City squad travelled to China, Hong Kong and Japan for the Club’s pre-season Asia Tour, clocking up valuable minutes, those who were in Copa America and Africa Cup of Nations action arrived later to pre-season training, following their summer breaks.

Guardiola explained that City’s South American and Algerian contingent are unlikely to start Sunday’s game, although they may be introduced from the bench.

“Except Fernandinho, everybody is back,” he said.

“Today arrived the last two: Ederson and Riyad Mahrez and two days ago, Sergio Aguero, Nicolas Otamendi and Gabriel Jesus came back.

Benjamin Mendy came back two or three days ago. He tried to train with the team. Hopefully, next week he will be with us.

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“The physical condition (of the squad) is not the best. We will try to play with players who played minutes in pre-season because they have rhythm and they know the situation.

“The guys who came back later maybe will have a few minutes. There are more chances of substitutions. I think it will be hot in London.

“Every week, our condition will be better. I think we will play at a high intensity on Sunday – a good level.

“I think soon, we will be at the level – from the way we are training. We know better what we have to do. That helps on the pitch and with physicality.

“This month, we have long weeks to prepare. Pre-season starts really right now. There is one game a week so a lot of training sessions and no injuries.

“We start to look at what we need to fix. Over the month, we will see whether we need to train more, or do other sections less. We will try to win games in that period.”

Guardiola also expressed his delight for Claudio Bravo’s pre-season displays, as the Chilean returned from a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

“I am really impressed,” he reflected. “It’s not easy at 33, 34 after one year out. He is going to play. He’s been good, really good.

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“I don't know if he was completely fit. It was one year out and it took time to recover.

“He started training towards the end of last season. Now he is fit. He will be ready.”

Following Vincent Kompany’s departure, Guardiola was also asked whether there had been an update on his replacement for Club captain.

The manager explained he will leave the decision to his squad.

“When Fernandinho comes back, they are going to decide,” he continued.

“I want it to be done altogether – to choose it.

“It’s up to them.”

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Guardiola added he is relishing the chance to be facing Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp – a manager he holds immense respect for.

“[I respect] many things,” he stated. “He’s a class manager – a top manager.

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“His teams are identified well. He’s at top manager, incredible.

“It’s an incredible challenge for me every time I face one of his teams.

“His message is always positive. His behaviour – hugging, smiling – his message is positive.

“It’s good for football. There are some exceptions, but most of the time it is good.

“We won almost every trophy; not all of them. It was quite remarkable.

“Not enough to have our players in the best players in Europe but we know each other better now than in the first season. That’s easier for our job.

“We start from zero now – we start again – but we are ready to accept the challenge.”

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