"It's Man United!" - Pep Guardiola pre Manchester United Press Conference
Pep Guardiola is back and he gave fitness updates of several first team players ahead of the Manchester derby this Sunday. The boss also discussed the rivalry with Manchester United, and their manager Erik Ten Hag, as well as touching on Erling Haaland, Manuel Akanji, and others.
John Stones pulled up with a hamstring injury on England duty:
"He will be back then he's ready. It won't be four to six weeks, it might be less. I don't know when he will be back but two weeks, ten days hopefully."
Aymeric Laporte is nearing a return:
"He's training really well, [he] trained alone when people were with the national teams..."
"A long time injured, important is [he is] in training [and] he moves well, ability with the pass is exceptional. Important to come back in this crazy schedule. For him as well."
"It's different [this season], we had no other option last season [in central defence], we had Fernandinho to help us. If we decide to play with Aymer[ic Laporte], we [will] do it, but we don't have to urgently [rush him back]. We have Manu[el Akanji], Ruben [Dias], Nathan [Ake]..."
Kalvin Phillips had undergone surgery:
"He feels good, the surgery was good. He is getting better [with] the mobility. He took the right decision, otherwise he couldn't move forward. Every training session or two, three times he was out. Hopefully he can be back in time to go to the World Cup and after be back with us."
"He played really well, we cannot deny. He has all the skills we need. Professionally, an intelligent person. Another option that we have and it's a long, long season."
City physio Mario Pafundi joined up with Erling Haaland and Norway:
"It's not weird, when there are European cups or World Cups many physios go with players. Always I said to the club the most important department is the physios. Erling [Haaland] struggled a lot in Dortmund. Most of the year injured; arrived here with problems after a small surgery in the summer. Worked with Mario [Pafundi] and other guys. Thanks to them and other guys he plays every game, last season [it] wasn't possible. The clubs earn a lot of money when players can play and most of the time it's thanks to the physios. Mario [Pafundi] and Erling [Haaland] like each other and he asked him to go to Norway."
"Ask Mario [Pafundi] [if there was a issue with Erling Haaland], I'm not a physio. They try to make the players available. So important how they work, helping players to be fit. Otherwise they couldn't play."
"I always expect the best, they have it for many years, they come with a resolve. Top side, [won] against Southampton, Liverpool and Arsenal at home. The momentum is there."
"In Spain, Barcelona and [Real] Madrid [it] is more noisy the days before, more media, everything. The rest in Germany, here, you can work. Enjoy to watch the derby. It's important, big rival in the city. Try to figure out what we're going to do and what we can do to beat them. You don't have to make an extra emotion, it is what it is. The stadium will be full, supporters behind us, they know we'll do our best."
"When you are on top you have more rivals. In the middle you have less rivals. Big rivals make you better. We have to play a perfect game [on Sunday]. They have the qualities upfront, physicality and quality in the middle with Eriksen, Fernandes, physicality with Casimero and McTominay. [Manchester[ United [are] always like that, [at] Old Trafford we've been better than [at the] Etihad [Stadium] but it's our stadium, looking forward, we're prepared to face them."
"A long time ago [Roy Keane and Alfie Haaland]. We try to be there, it doesn't have to be a derby for these things to happen. Football is feelings, emotion."
"Erling [Haaland] is taller [than Lisandro Martinez], that's for sure. I like when people underestimate players [Lisandro Martinez] for the size. He can tell them I'm here and a good player. He's a fantastic player, aggressive, good build up. United paid this money, Erik [Ten Hag] knows him. It's not the first time he's played against taller strikers, he handles it. Important is be intelligent, brave. The crosses, Erling [Haaland] is taller, we see what happens..."
"We cannot be lazy. You need to express emotions [in the derby] and feelings, [it is] important. Here *points to head* is the decisions before you act. Be calm and take the right decisions to be calm. [When you are] anxious [it] is difficult to take the right ones (decisions)..."
"There's a plan [we have] for how they attack and defend. They have to believe, it's an opportunity to express our skills in front of thousands, millions of people. We do it for them, we be ourselves, what we are as a football player, don't be scared. Be upfront, try to play upfront. I prefer to be active than reactive. Teams have always been like this."
World Cup coming up in December:
"In six weeks we have the World Cup and injuries would be difficult, we have to be focussed, We don't plan anything differently. Everyone knows about the World Cup, we talk about days off, when we come back, the training. After depends on [the World Cup] group stage, quarter-finals, when players come back [to Manchester City]. How they feel. First game we play, we are going to see the selection. I don't think anybody knows what will happen."
"Few [training sessions]. Recovery, training sessions, everyone will be involved [in the matches]. Some more than others, but everyone will be involved. Since I am a manager I've been like that eleven, twelve years ago, every three days a game. No surprise. Adapt, adjust, recover well with ice on the legs. Train specific what you need to improve."
The Etihad Stadium atmosphere:
"They're proud of what we've given to them. They produce many [great atmospheres] since we are together. Go to the stadium it's important we feel the pressure of them. Demand the best of ourselves. We need it, I want them to be active. It's not just a football game. Demand the best of ourselves."
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.