Pep Guardiola spoke glowingly of a first meeting with Manchester City’s billionaire owner Sheikh Mansour after a mid-season trip to Dubai.
Manchester United’s involvement in the EFL Cup final left City without an opponent at the weekend, prompting a warm-weather training trip to the UAE.
City will return to action with an FA Cup fifth-round replay against Huddersfield Town, the competition that perhaps offers City their greatest hope of silverware this season.
Despite slipping eight points off the pace of leaders Chelsea before their trip – the gap was widened to 11 points on Saturday – Guardiola hinted that he retains the full backing of City’s chief.
He told a news conference: “We were together in a different place. We found the sun. We had dinner together and, didn’t think too much about football.
“It was a short trip but it was nice. We just trained and cleared our minds. We got some sun, stretched our legs and that was basically it.
“I speak regularly with Khaldoon [Al-Mubarak, chairman]. The last time, he came over here. But we met Sheikh Mansour for the first time and I was impressed how he knew everything about us and it was nice to spend some time with him.
“He is so happy. He sees all the games and he sees the effort.
“He knows we fight until the end, and it was nice because it’s important for us to know the president. That’s why it was good.”
Guardiola remains without Vincent Kompany for Wednesday’s fixture against the Championship side, but he remains confident that the captain will “definitely” play his part in the run-in.
The Catalan added: “He [Kompany] is not ready for tomorrow.
“He is much better but not quite right. Soon he will return. He is in the last part of his recovery.”
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