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Guardiola hints at Laporte injury return ahead of Dortmund clash

Tue 13 September 2022 | 13:08

The Citizens will face Dortmund in their next Champions League group game as they started the campaign with a 4-0 victory over Sevilla. While many are eager to watch Haaland's return against his former side, Guardiola provides injury updates on three of his key players.

With their weekend

Premier League

game against

Tottenham

being canceled for the Death of Queen Elizabeth II,

Manchester City

is ready to take on

Borussia Dortmund

at home on Wednesday before a Saturday away game at Wolves.

Ahead of their Champions League clash, the Citizens boss

Pep Guardiola

provided injury updates on

Aymeric Laporte

, John Stones, and Kyle Walker after hailing his new signing,

Manuel Akanji

.

Despite being a Manchester United supporter, Manuel Akanji signed for City last summer for a reported £15m fee. The Switzerland international made his debut for the club in their Champions League victory over Sevilla last week as he will revisit his former side on Wednesday.

Accompanied by his captain Ilkay Gundogan, the Citizens boss told his pre-match conference:

“I said I was a Manchester United fan growing up, but that when you reach a certain level as a player, you're no longer a fan, because you play against such clubs and you don't support this club like you did.”

“Manu with just one training session did well. We have seen in that we are very happy. It is the first training session [for Laporte] and I don't know, but this is good. It is going really well and we are very happy for that. After the break they will be ready to start the training.

 

Akanji isn't the only player to face his old teammates this Wednesday with

Erling Haaland

also in the City squad to face Dortmund, in a firing form both in the Champions League and Premier League. The Man City captain

Ilkay Gundogan

added praising the Norway international:

"I think [Haaland has started] very well and the numbers they speak for themselves.

“I think the club has signed an incredible player. He has done well on the pitch, but his character, determination and attitude off the pitch [has also been impressive] from such a young boy. He is very mature and his future is very bright. We are both really looking forward to the game against our old club."

 

Gundogan

revealed his side’s ambition to win the

Champions League

this summer. He added: “We hope for it. This year having a proper number 9 playing as a striker is going to help us a lot. We will see and the Champions League is an incredible thing to achieve.

“It is never easy to play in this competition and sometimes little details can decide the outcome. It is a different competition and maybe the games against Dortmund will be a little bit more open than we have been used to here.

“That's not always the case and each team are defensively strong. Maybe that is something [Haaland] will have to adapt to and he has already shown that he can do that. It's about taking your patience and trying to punish the other teams."

Manchester City reached the final of the competition two years ago, when they got defeated by

Chelsea

. The German midfielder urges his side to reach the final again this year.

“You should not regret anything and it was incredible to play in the final with this club. We will try to get there again and hopefully to do better to try to reach the maximum. We will try and see what will happen.”

 

On his

captaincy style

, the

Germany international 

who also previously captained Dortmund during his spell added:

“I think the atmosphere is quite similar. We have players who are really good guys and they are really important for the dressing room and big characters are stepping up. Players changing their clubs is normal. My role has maybe changed a little bit and become a little bit more about organisation. I was lucky enough to have Fernandinho and I have called him a couple of times for some advice. I don't try to change too many things.

 

Adding to his captain’s earlier praise for Erling Haaland,

Guardiola

said: “It is what it is. I think everyone in this country [paid their respects] for the Queen. It is our job to speak with the players and what they think and the players [not just Haaland] will do their best in each of the games. It's not just him, but the team is also playing well.”

“Imagine a striker that makes 50 runs and does not get the pass, he does not make the runs any more. We have to take decisions and the players have freedom and intentions. It is not a big problem for me, but we will need to work on it together whether we go to the left, the right or to try and score a goal.”

 

However, Guardiola admits the knowledge the

Bundesliga

side have about

Akanji and Haaland

can cost them. “

They know these players better than I know these players. They can have a benefit. But also, they know the players better as well, so maybe that can work for us. We already had an incredible striker in Gabriel [Jesus], but we respect his decision to leave and I love this guy [Haaland] like he knows and we tried to bring him here”.

“Yep. We want a team to win tomorrow. It is the World Cup and we have to be there in the Premier League. But in the Champions League we have to qualify. We won the first game and in the Champions League at home you have to be strong. We are lucky that we don't travel... Most of them are going to play both games.”

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