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Media City: Guardiola's defensive options

DEFENSIVE DUO: Stones and Kompany are just two of the defensive options available to Pep Guardiola

DEFENSIVE DUO: Stones and Kompany are just two of the defensive options available to Pep Guardiola

As City gear up for another big afternoon in the Premier League, the press have focused on the strength in depth of Pep Guardiola’s squad.

The news that Vincent Kompany may be nearing a return to action has prompted many to discuss the wealth of choices Guardiola now has in the centre-back area.

Richard Tanner of the Daily Express writes: “The City skipper is nearing full fitness after a year of injury problems but Pep Guardiola is reluctant to break up the John Stones-Nicolas Otamendi partnership which has provided the foundation for a flying start of seven straight wins in the Premier and Champions Leagues.

“Guardiola says Kompany's impending presence on the bench however is crucial to keep Stones and Otamendi on their toes.

"Vincent's close but not yet," he said. "For me, when he's ready - how difficult to play him? Absolutely nothing. They have to compete with each other, we'll see on the pitch what is the best for that game.

"We need all the players competing with each other. There's a lot of games and we need all the central defenders, strikers, wingers, attacking midfielders, holding midfielders, full-backs, goalkeepers. We will need everybody.

"That is the best way to arrive in April or May fighting for every title. They have to know if they don't play good then there's another player beside me [on the bench] and the next time he is going to play.”

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With so many of the current squad at or nearing full fitness, GOAL have reported on the changes they believe Pep has implemented to assist the players in their recovery.

Sam Lee writes: “Guardiola has brought his backroom staff with him from Bayern Munich and they immediately set about changing the club’s approach in several different areas.

“The players’ lounge at the Etihad Stadium has been moved and the squad are now encouraged to eat together after matches in a bid to regulate their diet, while certain foods such as pizza - a post-match staple in recent seasons - have been banned completely.

“The squad are also allowed to stay at home with their families the night before home matches, rather than report to the training ground’s accommodation, in a move designed to change their relaxation habits.

“Guardiola, who has anywhere between 10 and 20 staff with him on the bench on match days, believes that so far the results have been positive: “The most expensive thing for the club is the one player who is injured,” he said on Friday.”

That’s all for today’s media round-up. Be sure to tune in to mancity.com for full coverage as the Blues face AFC Bournemouth this afternoon!

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