Aug 15, 2016

    Guardiola not giving Toure and Hart the boot


    MANCHESTER City manager Pep Guardiola said the door was not closed for club stalwarts like Joe Hart and Yaya Toure, despite dropping them for his first Premier League game.

    He picked Willy Caballero in goal for Saturday's narrow 2-1 win over Sunderland instead of Hart, whose future at the club is in doubt.

    Toure did not even make the match-day squad.

    France internationals Eliaquim Mangala and Samir Nasri have been omitted from the squad for a Champions League play-off match at Steaua Bucharest tomorrow night, the latter over concerns about his weight.

    But Guardiola said: "I don't have any complaints about these names. Yaya trained really, really good.

    "Sami arrived a little bit... but the last one week, two weeks, he's training amazing, so I'm really impressed about the quality of Sami.

    "Mangala, you know better than me how professional he is.

    "But, at the end, I have a squad and I decide what I see.

    "That doesn't mean in the future they are not going to play. In Barcelona, in (Bayern) Munich, it was difficult to repeat a line-up.

    "Today, in the world, people are afraid to take decisions.

    "I like to take (them).

    "It's not that Joe cannot play or Yaya or Sami or Mangala. But today I decide for that, for many reasons."

    Guardiola is reported to be interested in signing German goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen from Barcelona.

    But he said the decision to bench Hart was purely down to the fact Caballero had spent more time working on build-up play with centre-backs John Stones, who made his debut, and Aleksandar Kolarov.

    City prevailed courtesy of an 87th-minute own goal by Sunderland debutant Paddy McNair.

    Sergio Aguero put City ahead with an early penalty but the hosts failed to make their dominance count.

    Jermain Defoe equalised with 19 minutes remaining.

    Asked what he had learnt about the Premier League, Guardiola said: "We are not safe until the referee says: OK, go home."