"I have to treat Cole Palmer the same as De Bruyne..." - Pep Guardiola pre Burnley Press Conference
Pep Guardiola confirmed the selection availability of players away on international duty, those who have picked up injuries and those who are returning from injuries ahead of City's return to Premier League action against Burnley on Saturday. The boss also spoke on Raheem Sterling's comments regarding him wanting to experience football abroad and John Stones maybe making a return...
Firstly, everything Pep said regarding Raheem Sterling:
"I didn't know it [Sterling considering leaving]. Raheem is our player and hopefully will be an incredibly important player for us."
"I don't know if he wants to play more. Riyad doesn't play and he doesn't complain, Joao too. I cannot assure them, I cannot assure how many minutes each one plays. Always they have to speak on the pitch."
"I'm not involved in contract. The club decides."
"What I want from Raheem and everyone is they have to be satisfied to be here and delighted to be here. If that's not the case he has to take the best decision for his family. I was a player, I understand completely. I wanted to play. All of them want to play every game but I cannot assure them. They have to improve every training session and be there on the pitch."
"Raheem played the Champions League final, he's so important. But I have to treat Cole Palmer the same as De Bruyne, both have parents, girlfriends or wives or kids or friends. I treat the same the cooker and the manager. What you have done, you have benefits. Today I have to treat the same. Why I treat differently an academy player to Jack Grealish? When I pick him it's because it's the best team to win the game."
Guardiola on player availability:
"[Ferran] Torres out for two-and-a-half, three months. The injuries can happen here, at home, the national teams. It happens. I know the manager from Spain, he treats Ferran as best as possible, doesn't want him to get injured. They try to take care, sometimes it happens..."
"No, [Ederson and Jesus won't play], they played overnight."
"Oleks [Zinchenko] and Ilkay [Gundogan are] back. They trained this week and we're happy, delighted they are back."
Pep on John Stones:
"Maybe [he will play vs. Burnley]. We will decide today."
"Stones is unlucky, he played so well alongside Ruben. This season Aymeric played incredibly well alongside Ruben , it's fair to let him play. Stones - I'm delighted he played well for the national team, this is why we extend the contract."
"He will be so important. On the pitch is the only way they can improve. Always I give opportunities to players, some players play more and this is the chance to show how good they are. I don't have an alternative, I can only pick eleven."
"For many reasons, I cannot assure anyone, John, Kevin, Ruben, Phil Foden. Raheem in that case is so important for us. He competes with Grealish, Foden, Ferran, Bernardo, It's the reality. It's difficult to take the decision, there's no alternative. The way is to train harder. The moment he is going to play, show you are right. The only thing I knew as a player and manager how to react."
Expanding on leaving players out and squad selection:
"I was an exceptional player, I was never on the bench so I cannot answer this question..."
"When this happens [players dropped], football is to understand when you play it's the reason why I play better, to fight more. Understand why the other was better, accept and move forward. Understand because the manager has other thoughts."
"I have to work harder. Always I was so respectful. Others maybe didn't, John always played good, helped the team. There are players all over the world. You have to decide. I don't want to see players unhappy. We don't push barriers."
"There are many teams. Just make a phone call to the club and sort the situation. Not just for Raheem, for all the players. Be there and fight and be good. In the transfer windows you decide..."
"In my career important players don't play, when it's going well everything is happy. When it's not, it's just me, so I take the decisions for the best for the club."
Finally, on Burnley:
"The past is the past. I forget if we win or lose what happens in the past. Burnley was in this position many times but they always come back because they never give up."
"The manager plays a certain way, he's a machine doing that. The way how he commits to his principles, that's why he stays in the Premier League a long time and extends his contract, he never gives up."
"Doesn't matter what happens, go to Anfield and Emirates to win. Heart, passion and character to win. Some teams when they go down, they don't they stay and fight. Maybe we get good results because I pay more attention to their skills. I tell the players today and hopefully they can understand it for tomorrow."
Written by: @coIgcra.
Follow our Twitter account for reliable, live updates on all the latest news surrounding this story and everything Manchester City in real time.