Men's Team

Borrell: City looking forward to Guardiola's return

Rodolfo Borrell says City hope to have manager Pep Guardiola back this week to personally oversee preparations ahead of next Saturday’s key Premier League clash with Chelsea.

The boss was forced to miss Friday’s 4-1 FA Cup third-round win at Swindon after testing positive for COVID-19 earlier last week.

In his absence – and with assistant coach Juanma Lillo also testing positive - fellow assistant coach Borrell oversaw preparations for the Swindon game as well as taking charge on the night at the County Ground.

But with the focus now trained on next Saturday’s huge Etihad encounter with third-placed Chelsea, Borrell said the City players and backroom staff were all looking forward to hopefully having Pep back at the helm early this week.

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“Obviously, Pep is the manager, he’s the boss and he’s influential as you know the influence is huge,” said Borrell.

“I believe he will be available from the beginning of the week, if not the beginning, then midweek at the latest.

“But again, sometimes people who test positive keep being positive after six days and they get eight days if that makes sense.

“We expect him to be available at some point in the week in terms of preparations.

“We will do what we have to do. We plan and do everything together so there are no changes and (there will be) time to do our best and build up to the Chelsea game.”

It has been a challenging week for the Club with 21 members of the first team squad and backroom staff in total forced to self-isolate ahead of the Swindon match.

In the wake of the impressive 4-1 win at the County Ground, Borrell also revealed that the impact was still being felt within the first team set-up.

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And quizzed as to whether he hoped the Club had come through the worst of the situation, the Spaniard also pointed to the sheer unpredictability of trying to foresee what would happen next with the virus.

“A couple more staff were positive on Friday and one player was inconclusive,” Borrell revealed.

“We were waiting for the second test and result and actually he came down by car (to Swindon) so he couldn't fly with us.

“But at the moment just a couple more staff to add to that list. Hopefully no more.

“Are we through the worst? It is difficult to predict.

“If you get COVID once and then don’t get it again, then yes. But what’s happening is that we have some people who have got COVID for a second time.

“They got the first variant now they have got the second variant - so it is completely unpredictable.

“We have plenty of people who have got it once and we have some who have got it twice - so if in the end everyone has to have it twice, we haven't been through the worst.

“You never know as it is so unpredictable. Hopefully yes, but you never know.”

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