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Dyche: Guardiola is fantastic

PEP - Guardiola-arrives-at-Crystal-Palace

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With the dust having settled on the midweek Champions League action, focus has switched to the weekend’s Premier League games.

City travel to Burnley for Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off. That, and the upcoming January transfer window, are the main talking points in the press this morning.

Pep Guardiola will be addressing the media later this afternoon, but Burnley manager Sean Dyche already has – and he has immense respect for his City counterpart.

"I think he's fantastic," he declared. "I have absolute respect for these people and the things that they've achieved in the game. He's certainly the top end of the market.

"He has changed their sharpness, both out of possession and in possession and I think he's brought that in as a key factor among lots of other things, including changing the shape and the tactics regularly.

"It's easier said than done to press these teams. You have to press at appropriate times and it's a case of how the game pans out."

On his side’s chances of gaining a result, he continued: "It's not a free hit because we want to take on every game and get points on the table. There's a huge gulf between us and Manchester City on and off the pitch but it is the marvel of football.

"Random results turn up and we've had plenty of them since I've been here - we've had some this season. Internally we have an expectation of delivering a performance."

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In other news, the Mirror believe Yaya Toure could be employed at centre-back.

According to David McDonnel: “Manchester City chiefs are assessing whether to sign a central defender when the window reopens, to cope with the latest loss of injury-plagued skipper Vincent Kompany.

“Ivory Coast midfielder Toure, back in the fold in recent weeks after being exiled for comments made by his agent about boss Guardiola, could provide an answer to the Blues’ defensive issues.

“The 33-year-old, who scored twice on his return last weekend against Crystal Palace, can play at centre-back. Indeed, he featured there for ­Guardiola as ­Barcelona beat Manchester United 2-0 in the 2009 Champions League final.

“With January a notoriously difficult month in which to buy players, Toure could slot into central defence, where the Blues are down to two fit, recognised centre-backs in John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi.

“Guardiola has mooted Fernandinho as a potential ­emergency centre-half, but is reluctant to lose his influence in midfield.

“City chiefs have a board meeting in Abu Dhabi on Monday, at which the potential need for a new defensive face is likely to be high up on the agenda.”

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Elsewhere, Steven Gerrard, who this week announced his retirement from football, believes Guardiola has renewed Raheem Sterling’s confidence.

Quoted in a Manchester Evening News article, he stated: “When your wings are clipped and you’re getting a bit of criticism in the media you sort of go into a shell.

“But the manager’s come in, showed big confidence in him, he’s started the season very well and he’s gone from strength to strength.

“Everyone knows, if you’ve got that confidence you go out and express yourself and that’s what Raheem is doing.”

Finally, there’s a snippet of transfer gossip courtesy of Sky Sports, who claim City are monitoring Denmark’s Kasper Dolberg.

Apparently: “[Sebastian] Arnesen, son of former Tottenham and Chelsea sporting director Frank, is quoted in Danish newspaper BT speaking on behalf of City, raving about the 19-year-old Ajax forward.”

He said: "We keep a very close eye on him and, when the time is right, we'll make a decision on whether we should act on it.

"He has a huge potential. He is tall, strong, brave and quick. He has an excellent touch, can play with his back to the goal and take the right decisions.

"And he can finish anywhere in the field. He is so special, and therefore he is of course also on the radar."

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