Pep Guardiola insists he has no major problem with Benjamin Mendy having been pictured at a nightclub prior to Manchester City’s Premier League game at Fulham.
Mendy was reportedly seen out at 0330 local time on Saturday, just nine hours before City’s 2-0 victory at Craven Cottage kicked off.
The full-back was not in the squad for the match, having only played once in 2019 while he recovers from a knee operation he had last November.
Guardiola confirmed the France international is fit enough to be involved in Wednesday’s home game with Cardiff City, having trained on Saturday, but stressed he is neither frustrated nor exasperated with Mendy’s off-the-field behaviour.
“They are old enough to know what they have to do,” Guardiola said when asked about the nightclub claims. “I am not his father. I would prefer him to go to sleep earlier, but I don’t control the players in that situation.
“I’m a relaxed guy. Maybe it doesn’t look like it, but I sleep quite well.”
Premier League prep
— Manchester City (@ManCity) April 2, 2019
City will move a point clear at the top of the table if they defeat struggling Cardiff, as they attempt to maintain their challenge for an unprecedented quadruple in 2018-19.
Guardiola admits he is delighted generally with the mentality of his players throughout the season, as he attempts to manage the difficulty of eight games in April.
“From my experience in that situation, the players have the conscience to go into a game, if they lose that game, it’s finished, finito,” he said.
“That is the best way because they see seven games to finish the Premier League, [Champions League] quarter-finals is two games, two more games [in the semi-final], maybe a final, [and] in the FA Cup, one game and then a final.
“They know that every game you lose, you are out. That is the best way you have to face [it]. A draw is not enough. You have to win, and that is what we are going to do.
“The last 20 games – take an exception, the EFL Cup [final] when we drew but won on penalties – the other ones, we won. We don’t select competitions, we don’t select this game as more important than the other one. They know it, so the team plays for the win, every game we play.”
Guardiola also does not expect his players to allow their standards to drop against a so-called lesser side in Cardiff, who are five points from safety with seven games left to play.
“Against these kinds of teams? No,” he said. “We won, I think, [in the] the last 20 games, 19. When you play 19 games, you play against top sides, low, the people say ‘medium’ of low sides. I think the team is ready to fight and to try to do a good game.”
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