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Pep Guardiola hints at starting XI selection ahead of Crystal Palace vs Man City

Pep Guardiola hints at starting XI selection ahead of Crystal Palace vs Man City

Pep Guardiola has suggested that he will continue to use his current set of defenders, who have been performing well, for the upcoming Premier League game against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Although John Stones and Aymeric Laporte returned to the squad last week, they did not get to play in the team’s 2-0 victory over Newcastle United.

With their return, Guardiola now has five options for the center-back position, including Ruben Dias, Manuel Akanji, and Nathan Ake, all of whom have started in the team’s last four matches.

The three defenders, Dias, Akanji, and Ake, have been performing well in the recent weeks, and Guardiola has stated that he does not view the return of Stones and Laporte as a chance to rotate the defense. Instead, he intends to continue with the current players who have contributed to the team’s three consecutive wins.

“I don’t know [about rest], still I don’t have a clear vision of the line-up [against Palace], not 100 percent. I want to see the training session today which is going to happen,” said Manchester City boss on Friday.

“Arrive in the moment, rotation will be important but not like it is in October, November or September. The guys who are playing good and feel confident will continue to play. This is my feeling now.”

Guardiola has also mentioned that he has no plans to rest his team during the game against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, even with an important Champions League last-16 match against RB Leipzig coming up on Tuesday.

“Absolutely not, we’re playing for the Premier League,” he explained.

“The most important thing is the Premier League. We come from one long week off. They rest, two days off, they train really good – we’re not thinking about Leipzig.

“Crystal Palace deserve a lot of attention for their qualities. [Jordan] Ayew, [Wilfired] Zaha, [Eberechi] Eze, a lot of weapons up front. The quality they have up front is unbelievable,” he added.

“We have to pay attention. Small pitch with a crowd who support the team; [Joachim] Andersen incredible in the build-up, the long balls and the switch of play. The set-pieces, they score two goals here from set-pieces. We have to be careful, but the players know it already.”

On Friday, Guardiola confirmed that Phil Foden is fit to play, as the England international had revealed earlier in the week that he had re-injured his foot during the team’s win over Newcastle United.

Pep Guardiola hints at starting XI selection ahead of Crystal Palace vs Man City

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