Guardiola turns to Academy over lack of Pep in City's step

City’s Liam Delap made a great debut

Andy Hampson

Pep Guardiola insists he will not look for excuses after seeing his Manchester City squad depleted in the early stages of the campaign.

The City boss says he only has 13 fit senior players available after being hampered by injuries, the coronavirus, and the lack of a significant pre-season.

Guardiola called up a number of youth players for Thursday's 2-1 Carabao Cup victory over Bournemouth and expects to dip into the Academy reserves further in the coming weeks.

With an increased number of midweek fixtures due to the compressed nature of the delayed season, Guardiola is wary of the intense programme ahead.

"We've trained less. Managers - not just for Covid-19 - now must be the human resources (officer) or the guy who takes care (of players) because we don't have time for training or to practise much," he said.

"We just recover now and then in three days we have Leicester, then just three or four days after Burnley, and then Leeds. We don't have time for training, just to recover. Just avoid injuries.

"But with these players, and especially at this club, and the clubs where I came from, excuses don't exist. We have 13 players. We have to win the games - and we have many games. If we need more players we'll have the players from the Academy."

City were already without Sergio Aguero, Bernardo Silva, Joao Cancelo and Oleksandr Zinchenko to face Bournemouth through injury, while Ilkay Gundogan is self-isolating after contracting Covid.

Guardiola later revealed Nicolas Otamendi had "niggles" and Aymeric Laporte is still not fit after his positive test for Covid. He is also unlikely to return for tomorrow's Premier League visit of Leicester.


One of the youngsters called up, 19-year-old Adrian Bernabe, left the field on a stretcher before half-time.

Yet there were positives, notably 17-year-old striker Liam Delap impressing on his debut. The forward - son of former Ireland and Stoke midfielder Rory - put City ahead , while Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Tommy Doyle also shone.

Guardiola said: "If the players are good and have desire and work ethic every day we'll give them the chances. That's why we have the Academy."