Belfast Telegraph

Pep Guardiola to keep rotating Manchester City midfield

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is purring over the midfield talent at his disposal.

And the City boss has assured his list of players which will be the envy of many managers and clubs that they will get their opportunity this season.

David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne and Fernandinho started in Saturday's 2-0 win at Brighton.

Leroy Sane, Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling came off the substitutes' bench, where Yaya Toure was left unused alongside 17-year-old academy prospect Phil Foden. Ilkay Gundogan, meanwhile, is to return imminently following a long-term knee injury.

"Our midfield positions are really good," Guardiola said.

"But if you want to play in a certain way, the way I like, with players on the ball, then you need talent.

"They all have such a lot of quality. I like players when they have the ball, they don't lose the ball. I love that. And they keep it, they keep it well.

"The idea is to convince them that is the best way to play and to win games.

"All of them are going to play. Last season I rotated the team a lot and I will do that again. They will all be involved.

"After that it depends on them - if they accept my decision or not. If they don't accept it, it will be their problem not mine."

Guardiola admitted it was difficult to leave Sterling out of his starting XI.

"He deserved to play," the City boss added.

"I would like to be generous with the guys who train well. But he knows it's the first game, there's a lot of games and he knows he has he qualities to help us a lot."

Brighton withstood City's advances until the 70th minute when De Bruyne tackled Dale Stephens and found David Silva, who in turn found Sergio Aguero. The Argentina striker finished in trademark fashion.

It was a demonstration of City's ruthlessness which they will have to display against opposition teams which defend deep with men behind the ball, as Albion did on their Premier League debut.

"To attack 10 guys in the box you need players who move well in little space," Guardiola added.

"You watch other teams from around the world and they attack bigger spaces, defend smaller spaces. We attack in the small spaces, we defend bigger spaces.

"To do that you need a certain type of players. Dynamic, in the middle they move, they read the situation in smaller spaces. There's not a lot of space but you have to find it."

City travel to Girona for a friendly on Tuesday night before playing Everton on August 21.

Brighton next go to 2015-16 champions Leicester, with boss Chris Hughton satisfied with their showing.

"This is our first Premier League game and we were playing against the team some think might win the league," he said.

"There will be bigger scorelines than this in some Man City games, because of the quality that they've got.

"It's a very disappointed changing room, which shows it means something to them and shows they know that for 70 minutes we were very much in the game.

"We gave a really good account of ourselves."

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