Belfast Telegraph

Trophies or I get the boot: Man City boss Pep Guardiola

By Andy Hampson

Pep Guardiola is pleased with how his first meeting with Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour went - but is well aware he needs to deliver.

City took advantage of a free weekend to travel to Abu Dhabi for a warm-weather training camp last week and spent time with the ambitious club's hierarchy during the trip.

It was the first time Guardiola had met with the sheikh, whose largesse has transformed City in the past nine years, since the Spaniard's much-heralded arrival at the Etihad Stadium last summer.

Guardiola said: "With (chairman) Khaldoon (Al Mubarak) we speak regularly - the last period he came often here - but the other people we met for the first time, (including) Sheikh Mansour.

"I was really impressed that he knew absolutely everything about us. It was nice to meet him and spend a few hours together.

"He is so happy because he sees all the games and he sees the effort, he demands it. He knows we give absolutely everything and we fight until the end.

"It was nice because it is important for us to know the president. I had good relations with almost all my owners in Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

"But they know, we know, all the managers and owners know, that we are here because of the results. If the results are not good we are going to be replaced by another. I replaced another manager."

A Premier League title in Guardiola's first season now seems unlikely with City 11 points behind leaders Chelsea, albeit with a game in hand.

But their Champions League challenge is still alive having beaten Monaco 5-3 in the first leg of their last-16 tie last week.

They are also still in the FA Cup and host Sky Bet Championship high-flyers Huddersfield in a fifth-round replay tonight.

Captain Vincent Kompany is still troubled by a leg injury and has been ruled out of the clash despite initial hopes he would be fit.

Guardiola said: "He is much better but not ready."

Asked when Kompany might return, Guardiola said "soon" and that he "definitely" could play a full part in the remainder of the season.

Guardiola also said he was still to decide who would play in goal. Willy Caballero now seems to have taken over as first choice due to the failure of Claudio Bravo to make an impact since controversially displacing England number one Joe Hart.

Guardiola, whose side drew 0-0 in the first game last month, said: "I have to think about it - not just with our goalkeepers - for the line-up."

Huddersfield head coach David Wagner admitted his enjoyment of tonight's encounter would be tainted by his touchline ban.

Wagner was banned for two matches by the Football Association on Monday and fined £6,000 for improper conduct after joining his players on the pitch to celebrate Town's late winner in the recent derby clash with Leeds.

The German was pushed by opposite number Garry Monk on his way back to his dug-out and that altercation prompted a mass melee between both clubs' players and staff.

Huddersfield and Leeds were each fined £10,000 for failing to control their players - Monk will serve a one-game ban and was fined £3,000 and Wagner said he did not agree with his own punishment. "So many things happen in this world which I don't agree with and don't understand," he said.

Man City


FA Cup Fifth Round Replay

Etihad Stadium, Tonight, 7.45pm

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