Mens Team

United v City: Injury boost ahead of derby

United v City: Injury boost ahead of derby
Pep Guardiola says Manchester City are close to a clean bill of health ahead of Tuesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final clash with Manchester United.

Nicolas Otamendi, who missed the last two games against Port Vale and Everton, has returned to training, which means Guardiola has a full squad to choose from, apart from the long-term injured duo of Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sane.

“It’s good [to have Laporte back in training],” said Guardiola.

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“Everyone apart from Leroy is training. Nico is back. We have an almost full squad. It’s good.”

Despite the boost, Guardiola, who has often elected to rotate his squad in cup competitions, says he is yet to decide who will make the starting XI at Old Trafford.

He is, however, well aware of what the game means to the fans, but admits he is not motivated by avenging December’s 2-1 defeat at the Etihad Stadium.

Nor does he think City’s league position – third and 14 points behind leaders Liverpool – puts his players under any additional pressure to do well in the Carabao Cup this season.

“It was important in the first season and the next two and this one,” he added. “Nothing has changed.

“With that theory, in the seasons we won the Premier League, it wouldn’t matter. That’s not the case. It’s a game we want to play and do well.

“It’s a semi-final. When you play games against your opponent for many years sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Against a top club like United you can win and lose games.

“I didn’t expect when I arrived here that I would win all the time against Manchester United. We’ve beaten them more than we’ve lost, especially last season when we beat them all the time.

“The derby in Spain was Espanyol and Real Madrid and here United are the derby. 

“The derby in the city is important for our fans, but the other top teams are important. I know exactly what it means to the fans.”

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