Jack Grealish linked with a move to Manchester City
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Pep Guardiola has expressed his concern over Manchester City’s ‘incredible lack of preparation’ ahead of the new season. The Spaniard fielded a dramatically weakened side for their pre-season match against Preston North End on Tuesday evening, which City’s youngsters won 2-0.
The tie at City’s Academy Stadium was decided by a Riyad Mahrez free-kick and a clinical second-half strike from 18-year-old Samuel Edozie.
With only seven first-team regulars in the 25-man matchday squad, Guardiola seems concerned about the narrowing time window before the new season gets underway.
After the game, he said: “All of them were really good.
“Mentally, a lot of the players were in the Euros and Copa America, and they didn’t have time to recover, which is why they have to rest.
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“A few first team players had just two training sessions with us and most of the players of the second team were isolating for 10 days, so we had an incredible lack of preparation but they did really well and were part of the victory.
“We have just three or four first team players, every week players are coming back, hopefully they can come back and train and don’t have to rest or isolate.
“I know we don’t have time because in 10 or 11 days we have the Community Shield and we have just three players, but we are going to play the second team and we are going to try.
“No injuries is the most important thing and tomorrow we train again.”
The tie against Preston was City’s first pre-season encounter, after their proposed trip to French club Troyes was cancelled due to COVID complications.
As a number of City regulars were involved in major international tournaments, they were given an extended break to recover.
With less than two weeks before the Community Shield against Leicester, and less than three weeks before the start of the Premier League season against Tottenham, those returning must hit the ground running.
Guardiola’s concerns will be music to the ears of Man Utd, who are preparing to mount a serious title charge after announcing deals for Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane.
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Liverpool, meanwhile, will fancy their chances of Premier League glory after putting their defensive injury crisis of last season behind them.
Finally, Chelsea will be licking their lips after converting the momentum gained from the appointment of Thomas Tuchel into Champions League victory in May.
Clearly, City’s preparations for the new season have been less than ideal. Guardiola must rally the troops before the high-stakes Premier League action begins.
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