Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport

Mendy woe foiled Pep's plans for Aguero and Jesus

Man City v Feyenoord, Champions League, Etihad Stadium, Tonight, 7.45pm

By Ben Burrows

Pep Guardiola has conceded that both Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus "deserve" to start for Manchester City but Benjamin Mendy's long-term injury absence means they cannot.

Both strikers have been in fine form as City have swept all before them at home and abroad on their way to the top of the Premier League and the last-16 of the Champions League.

Guardiola used the pair together to devastating effect, but Mendy's knee injury, which is likely to keep him out until April, forced him to change tack.

As a result the Spaniard is having to choose between the two, a decision he reveals is his hardest selection call right now.

"Both have different qualities - they deserve to play," he said ahead of tonight's visit of Feyenoord. "They have a lot of games and they have to be ready. It is the toughest decision.

"When you have Mendy, he can play wide and the winger can go inside. Fabian Delph cannot do that. Without Mendy, Leroy Sane has to go wide, which is why they don't play together."

With City's progression already secured, Guardiola is expected to ring the changes and hinted highly-rated youngsters Phil Foden and Brahim Diaz could be handed full debuts.

"They are two young players, they are ready," he added. "At the high level we try and help young players. They've shown me the same we saw when they played in the second and third team. The skills and quality are there.

"Phil has to fight duels against Kevin de Bruyne, Fernandinho, David Silva. Every day is a step to improve. I said in pre-season, those guys will train with us all season. They have to be ready. Sometimes the manager makes a surprise."

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph