Man City boss Pep Guardiola drops hints about team selection ahead of Blackpool test
Pep Guardiola has hinted he could have “two or three” of his first-team stars back available for tomorrow night’s friendly against Blackpool.
The Seasiders take on Manchester City at 6pm on Tuesday in their final pre-season encounter before their league opener at Bristol City.
The reigning Premier League champions have been without a host of their key first-team players this summer as a result of Euro 2020 and Copa America.
Nevertheless, Guardiola was still able to name a strong side for their 4-0 win against Barnsley on Saturday, with the likes of Ruben Dias, Nathan Ake, Benjamin Mendy, Cancelo, Fernandinho and Riyad Mahrez all featuring.
City, who also beat Pool’s Lancashire rivals Preston North End in a recent friendly, now await the return of their England stars - such as Kyle Walker, Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling - and the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, who watched their game against Barnsley from the stands at the weekend.
“There are still lots of things we need to improve, but it was a good test,” Guardiola told City TV.
“The best way to get condition and remember what we are is to play games, so next Tuesday we have another one. For the players, that’s good.
“Saturday was a good test because Barnsley wanted to play, they tried to play. We created chances and we defended well, so it was a good game.
“We have young players involved who we’re trying to give as many minutes as possible, because in seven days we have the Community Shield final.
“We don’t have much time, but we will give minutes and that’s good.
“On Saturday, we give half an hour to Oleksandr (Zinchenko) and Ilkay (Gundogan), which was their first minutes with us. I will continue to try to do this.
“We’re still far away. There are a lot of things to improve. We will train on Sunday and then Tuesday night we have another game before the final.
“We will have two or three more players coming back in training and then another one at the end of the week, so step-by-step everyone is coming back.
“We never take too many conclusions from pre-season though. The important thing is to get no injuries.”
City take on FA Cup winners Leicester City at Wembley on Saturday in the Community Shield.
They get their Premier League title defender underway the following weekend away at Tottenham.
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