Manchester City belatedly start pre-season tour in Shanghai
City landed in China two days later than scheduled.
Manchester City held an open training session in Shanghai on Tuesday just hours after finally landing in China for the start of their pre-season tour.
The Premier League champions arrived two days later than scheduled after an administrative issue involving travel agent Thomas Cook Sport led to their flight from Manchester being delayed twice.
City are in China to take part in the Premier League Asia Trophy alongside West Ham, Wolves and Newcastle, and they open with a game against the London side in Nanjing on Wednesday.
Players did continue to train during their delay but the shortened acclimatisation process began with a training session at the Yuanshen Stadium attended by hundreds of the club’s Chinese fans.
It has not been ideal preparation but manager Pep Guardiola wanted to play down the issues.
“We couldn’t fly for reasons that were out of our control, so instead of training here we trained in Manchester,” Guardiola said. “Nothing changed too much.
“Of course for jetlag for the game it won’t be easy but it is what it is. It isn’t a perfect situation but it’s happened and we are going to adapt. That will make us stronger.
“I hate finding excuses. What you cannot control you cannot control so accept it and move forwards.”
Guardiola confirmed record signing Rodri will make his first City appearance in the game against the Hammers.
City paid Atletico Madrid £62.8million for the 23-year-old this summer having identified him as a potential long-term for midfielder Fernandinho.
“He’s a young player who’s going to be important for the next five or six years,” said Guardiola. “The first 10 days have been really good. He will play his first game tomorrow.”
Fabian Delph was not with City squad having completed his move to Everton earlier this week.
Guardiola said of the England international: “It was an incredible three years for us. Personally he helped me a lot and helped us a lot, especially two seasons ago when we won the league with him playing in a position (left-back) he isn’t used to.
“Everyone here, all the club, all the staff, all his mates wish him all the best in a big club like Everton.”
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My time at City has come to an end and they will be years I will never forget. Playing a part during such record breaking times has been a real honour. I want to thank everyone at the Club for their support throughout the good times and the not so good. The fans have been incredibly supportive, the staff amazing and as for my teammates, you all know what I think of you-what a privilege it’s been for me. So to a new chapter of my career. Everton such a historic club and I have heard great things about it from past and present players. Always a tough tough place to play with an amazing fan base so can’t wait to get started as a home player. #TunnelVision
City trained for around an hour in front of cameras and supporters in Shanghai before breaking off to sign autographs and pose for photographs with a group of fans.
Guardiola said: “The aim now is to prepare the team, win tomorrow against West Ham and play well.
“We will prepare how we have for the last three years – step by step, reanalyse, readapt and move forwards. At the end we will see our level and whether at the end of the season we can be fighting for titles.”
City will return to Shanghai after the game in Nanjing to play either Wolves or Newcastle on Saturday. They move on to play friendlies in Hong Kong and Japan next week.