Man City team news: Pep Guardiola gives injury update and reveals one starter vs Man Utd
The Manchester City manager was asked about the fitness levels of his squad ahead of the FA Cup final.
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The Citziens suffered a spate of injuries last week with Ruben Dias, Manuel Akanjii, Kevin De Bruyne and Jack Grealish all missing the final match of the Premier League campaign away to Brentford last weekend.
The quartet all returned to training this week and Guardiola confirmed on Friday that they will be available to face United at Wembley. “They trained well in the last two training sessions. No [concerns], they are more or less fine, all of them,” explained the Catalan in his pre-match press conference.
Meanwhile, Guardiola revealed he will start with Stefan Ortega in the final. The goalkeeper has played back-up to Ederson in the Premier League and Champions League this term, but has started very previous FA Cup match in 2022/23.
Asked who he will start in nets on Saturday, Guardiola confirmed he will stick with Ortega. “Yeah he’s going to play. It always has been the same in the cups, even with Barcelona and Munich. The keeper who plays FA Cup, plays FA Cup,” said the 52-year-old.
“A final is special for itself but what United is doing in the last four, five, six months are a completely different team from the beginning of the season when we faced them here,” Guardiola continued. “They were much better when we played there [at Old Trafford] and lost. I think we played good despite being beaten.
“But it’s football and now I have the feeling that the team has improved from the beginning of the season - patterns are more clear and the quality they have. So many years we are here, have been done really well against them. But it’s the United, always the quality of the players has been there, with [Jose] Mourniho and other managers.”
Guardiola also praised the impact Erik ten Hag has had at United since arriving at Old Trafford last year. “Always I identify a manager by how a team are getting better, how they improve. Just to see when he arrives and where the team is now. They are getting better and better, because it is not easy in the first season.
“I talk for myself and I identify a really good manager, who represents our profession in the best way, on the pitch and off the pitch. I cannot say we are friends because we are not in touch much - we had a short experience in Munich, but I think really Manchester United has an exceptional manager for many years.”