Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola claims he is down to 15 available senior players for Wednesday's Champions League match against Hoffenheim after David Silva and Fernandinho were added to his injury list.

Silva will be out for "a few weeks" after sustaining an apparent hamstring injury in City's 2-0 Premier League loss at Chelsea on Saturday.

Fernandinho completed his team's first league defeat of their title defence but appeared in discomfort towards the end of the 90 minutes.

Kevin De Bruyne's ongoing rehabilitation from a knee ligament injury means Guardiola's first-choice midfield three from last season are not available to take on Hoffenheim, with a point required for City to secure top spot in Group F.

Sergio Aguero remains out with an abductor complaint, although the Argentina striker could be back when City host Everton on Saturday, while full-backs Benjamin Mendy and Danilo remain on the sidelines.

On Silva's injury, Guardiola explained: "He was substituted for a muscular problem. He will be stopped for a few days, a few weeks

"Maybe Sergio has a chance for the weekend.

"We have 15 players available, so rotating, I cannot do it too much.

"We are in a real tough game. We are in the next stage, that is important. We want to win the game because every game we have to try to win, [we want] to finish first.

"It doesn't matter if you finish first or second, the last 16 is always tough."

Guardiola spoke of how highly he rates Hoffenheim counterpart Julian Nagelsmann, dating back to their meetings when the Catalan was in charge of Bayern Munich.

Hoffenheim's efforts in their 3-2 defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk last time out in the Champions League, despite being down to 10 men, gave Guardiola a newfound admiration for their play.

"Hoffenheim against Shakhtar was one of the most incredible games I watched as a spectator in the last years," Guardiola added, having studied a recording of the match this week.

"They were incredible how they created, how they did it – even with 10 players for 30 minutes, and they lost!

"It was fascinating watching that game. My admiration and point of view of Hoffenheim has increased. I know about Julian Nagelsmann and his team and I realise how tough it will be."

Pep Guardiola has hailed Raheem Sterling as an "incredible person" after the Manchester City and England winger spoke out amid allegations he was subjected to racist abuse.

Manchester City have tied one of their star youngsters to a new deal, with Phil Foden putting pen to paper on a new contract running to 2024.

Foden is yet to start a Premier League game but is considered one of the brightest talents in England, although the 18-year-old has rejected comparisons to Barcelona icon Andres Iniesta.

City have lost out on some of their prized talent of late with Jadon Sancho moving to Borussia Dortmund, who he has helped to top the Bundesliga table, earning England caps in the process.

Brahim Diaz is also expected to follow Sancho away from the Etihad Stadium with Real Madrid reportedly lining up a deal for the teenager, whose contract is set to expire next year.

Stockport-born Foden committing his future to City is therefore a major boost for City, who suffered their first defeat of the season at Chelsea in the Premier League at the weekend.

"We are delighted to have secured Phil for the next five-and-a-half years," said director of football Txiki Begiristain. "He is an outstanding talent and he is Manchester City born and bred so this is where he wants to play his football.

"Under Pep and with the players we have here around him, he is in the best place possible to develop as a player."

Foden scored his first City goal in an influential performance in September's EFL Cup win at Oxford United, while he has made eight Premier League appearances as a substitute this term.

"I'm over the moon," Foden, an Under-17 World Cup winner with England, told City's website.

"I've been here since day one – I've grown up and seen a lot of new faces and people.

"It's a dream come true to sign a new contract. My aim [now] is to be patient and take the [first-team] chances as they come."

Chelsea's 2-0 victory over Manchester City has not changed Maurizio Sarri's view that it will be "impossible" for his team to win the Premier League title this year.

The Blues handed Pep Guardiola's side their first loss in the division this season, with N'Golo Kante and David Luiz scoring either side of half-time at Stamford Bridge.

Sarri's side are still seven points behind City after 16 games and eight behind new Premier League leaders Liverpool.

And the Chelsea coach remains insistent that his team cannot maintain a sustained title challenge this season due to his view that City are the continent's finest side.

"As I said, always as you know, I think the gap is impossible to cover this kind of gap only in one season," Sarri told a news conference.

"One match - you can play one match, of course. Then in the competition of 10 months it's very difficult to cover the gap. I think they are, at the moment, the best team in Europe. 

"We won today. But we have to say we were a bit lucky in the first 25 minutes, because they could score. A little bit lucky in the first half and very good second half."

In his previous three meetings against Guardiola teams, Sarri had never been on the winning side.

As pleased as he was with the victory, Sarri wants his Chelsea side, who lost at Wolves in midweek, to carry their form into the rest of December, when they will face Brighton and Hove Albion, Leicester City, Watford and Crystal Palace in the league.

"I'm happy for the win because it's difficult to win against Guardiola's team," he added.

"I know very well they are a step ahead now. We have to work to cover the gap.

"We are not sure to be able to cover the gap. We have to try, of course."

Pep Guardiola is unconcerned by Manchester City relinquishing top spot in the Premier League after his side slumped to their first league defeat of the season at Chelsea.

Goals from N'Golo Kante and David Luiz ended City's unbeaten run, with Liverpool's earlier win over Bournemouth meaning the Reds lead the way after 16 games.

But Guardiola was in bullish mood despite the defeat, insisting that it was always unlikely City would go all season without suffering a defeat.

"Everyone ask me about this, I said that it not going to happen," Guardiola told a news conference.

"We're not here to be invincibles, or to be unbeaten, we're here to try to be champions. It doesn't matter. We want to make one point more than our opponents. Now, at the moment, Liverpool are better than us.

"We are in December, if you ask if Liverpool can win the Premier League, I would say yes. If you ask me if Tottenham, Arsenal or Chelsea can with the Premier League, I would say yes.

"There is not a sport in the world that one team or player wins everything.

"It's about how you lose, we played the way we want to play. After that, when the opponent is good we say congratulations."

Both Guardiola and Sarri lined up without recognised strikers in their starting XIs, with Hazard and Raheem Sterling deployed in false nine roles.

And Guardiola, whose side dominated possession without offering the cutting edge required to make a breakthrough, joked that he and Sarri had agreed to play with identical systems.

"Yesterday I call Maurizio we decided to play the same way," Guardiola added.

"He tries to win, I try to win, when he wins I congratulate him, he congratulates me [if I win].

"He is exceptional, I admire him and he deserves all the credit."

Raheem Sterling will lead the line for Manchester City in the absence of Sergio Aguero against Chelsea, who start with Eden Hazard playing as a false nine.

Pep Guardiola opted for a pacey attacking trio of Leroy Sane, Riyad Mahrez and Sterling, who celebrated his 24th birthday on Saturday, while Gabriel Jesus had to settle for a place among the substitutes.

Maurizio Sarri dropped Alvaro Morata from the side that lost 2-1 to Wolves in midweek and opted for Hazard alongside Willian and Pedro in attack.

Chelsea go into the game desperate for three points after a disappointing result at Molineux that came in the away game after their 3-1 reverse against Tottenham.

City, meanwhile need a victory to reclaim top spot in the Premier League from Liverpool.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola revealed star midfielder Kevin De Bruyne is closing in on a return from injury.

De Bruyne has been hampered by injuries this season, with the Belgium international damaging his left knee in November's EFL Cup win over Fulham.

The 27-year-old has only made five appearances in all competitions in 2018-19, having suffered lateral collateral ligament damage in his right knee in August.

Guardiola, though, said De Bruyne is nearing a comeback as Premier League leaders City prepare to face Chelsea on Saturday.

"I think he will be back training in maybe one week," Guardiola said.

"I said many times, I'd like to have Kevin available, but we try to not put pressure on one player and instead on everyone involved to make a good team.

"He is coming back. Sergio also in the next few days and weeks.

"Kevin was incredible last season but [Ilkay] Gundogan and Bernardo [Silva] have been outstanding.

"He will see the pressure. My target as a manager is bring out the best in them and that is the best thing."

 

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri insists spending money is no guarantee for success as he focuses on changing the mentality at Stamford Bridge, rather than potential new recruits for January.

After a strong start under the Italian the Blues have triumphed in only one of their last four Premier League outings, a worrying dip in form prior to hosting table-topping Manchester City on Saturday.

Pep Guardiola endured a similarly sticky spell in his first season in England, yet heavy investment in the squad prior to the 2017-18 campaign helped them canter to the title.

Sarri is not against Chelsea signing a player who adds something to the team, yet feels a complete overhaul will not necessarily close the gap to City.

"Not always. We need to work, we need to improve, we need to understand very well the style of playing," he told the media.

"We need to change the mentality, not because the old mentality was bad. But it's not suitable with the new way of playing.

"Then, after all this, maybe you do need one player. But the market is really very important when you understand that you need only one player in one position for changing the team.

"But you cannot think that you can buy 11 new players without problems. If you do, the problems will be the same.

"You have to create a new mentality and a new style of playing. We need to improve. We need to arrive at 95 per cent of our potential, then we can get the last five per cent with a new player. With a new player, not 11 new players."

When asked to specify which position he was looking to strengthen, Sarri replied: "I don't know. At the end of the day, I can tell you the position.

"But before we need to know the improvement of every player in the team. And then, maybe, you are able to know the right position for changing the team."

Sarri spoke to Guardiola back in June and revealed how the Spaniard suggested his rival should look to only develop a select group of players at Chelsea, those he feels have a long-term future at the club.

"He told me the first season in England is really very difficult," the former Napoli boss said. 

"For him, it's impossible to improve the first season 20 players. He told me, in the first season, you have to work only on 14 players otherwise you are in trouble. You need too much time to improve all the squad. In England, it's really very difficult."

Pep Guardiola does not expect Manchester City to be banned from the Champions League, but insists the club will "accept it and move forward" if they are punished by UEFA.

Reports suggest City could be suspended from Europe's top club competition if they are found guilty of breaching Financial Fair Play regulations.

German magazine Der Spiegel made a number of claims against the Premier League champions last month, based on documents purportedly obtained from whistleblowing platform Football Leaks, which allegedly show they contravened rules on how much money owners are allowed to put into a club.

City dismissed the claims, insisting "the attempt to damage the club's reputation is organised and clear", while UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin confirmed this week the organisation are "assessing the situation", adding: "We have an independent body working on it. Very soon you will have an answer on what will happen in this concrete case."

However, following discussions with the club's hierarchy, Guardiola is confident they will again be competing in European football in the 2019-2020 season.

"We will not be banned," he told the media on Friday. "It's what I think, what I trust with my chairman, with my CEO, what they explain to me. I trust them.  

"If it happens because UEFA decide that we will accept it and move forward."

Guardiola's immediate focus is on Chelsea, as the leaders head to Stamford Bridge for Saturday's late kick-off in the Premier League.

City triumphed 1-0 in the same fixture last season, toppling the reigning champions thanks to a second-half goal from Kevin De Bruyne as they underlined their title credentials early in the Spaniard's second season at the helm. 

"Winning there last season was more than three points, it was to take part and see we can do it," the former Barcelona boss said. 

"It was an important step last season, it was I think the first important game away, they were the last champion at that moment and it was important to say we can go anywhere and make a good performance, winning but also a good performance.

"And since then we continue in that way and the target is try to do it again. These kind of games, of course we want to win, but I'm more focused on how is our behaviour, how we are like as a team in these kind of stages. That is the most important thing."

The trip to Chelsea comes after City have already triumphed away at top-six rivals Arsenal and Tottenham this season, while they picked up a point in a 0-0 draw against nearest rivals Liverpool at Anfield.

"Tomorrow we play against hypothetically one of the five strongest teams in the Premier League, four away," Guardiola - whose side defeated Manchester United 3-1 at home in the derby last month - added.

"We've played them all [away] except United at home and our behaviour was good. At home we were solid, scoring a lot of goals, creating a lot of chances.

"In a way, maybe against Tottenham it was not our best performance, Liverpool neither, but we compete like a solid team and that's a good thing."

Maurizio Sarri generally welcomes the footballing common ground shared by himself and Pep Guardiola, although he was jolted by an uncomfortable parallel two weekends ago.

Pep Guardiola says he has full trust in Manchester City's operations as he waits for UEFA to conclude an investigation into the club's alleged Financial Fair Play breaches.

Vincent Kompany cautioned that Manchester City will not always win while playing "fantasy football" after Watford threatened late on in a 2-1 victory for the Premier League leaders.

Manchester City could potentially be banned from next season's Champions League due to alleged Financial Fair Play (FFP) breaches, with UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin say an investigation could be concluded: "very soon".

Manchester City's progress in recent seasons means they are no longer vulnerable to losing key players to the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid, according to Pep Guardiola.

Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Ederson have all signed new long-term deals at the Etihad Stadium this year, further underlining the sense of stability around the club as City look to enhance their reputation as a powerhouse both at home and on the continent.

In the past, England's top-flight teams have been susceptible to seeing their best players receive attractive offers from Barca and Madrid, with Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale two recent examples of stars who have swapped the Premier League for one of LaLiga's two behemoths.

Sterling was recently the subject of intense speculation linking him with a move to the Santiago Bernabeu but Guardiola believes his club's ability to tie pivotal personnel down to fresh contracts means the threat of losing such talent is no longer as potent.

"I think they [Madrid and Barca] can still buy these players, [but] I think they [the players] are comfortable here," Guardiola told a news conference ahead of Tuesday's Premier League trip to Watford.

"We try to keep our best players like every club does. We try it because they are young, they know the club, they have a relationship with all the members, the fans, and that's why we want to keep it, so it's common sense.

"The players can stay for longer than the managers, that's why the decision to keep the players or not has to be more than my personal decision. I have to listen to what the club thinks about it because if the results are not good maybe I'll not be here or I don't know what happens in the future in our world.

"It's because they want to stay, but I'm pretty sure Kevin, Raheem, all the young players, Leroy [Sane], Gabriel [Jesus], John Stones and Kyle Walker and everybody, they have all of Europe in front of them if they want to play in another place. If they stay it's because they like to stay here.

"The club changes in the last 10, 12 years. Before, it wasn't a club fighting for big tournaments.

"The good players, they would move for that experience, now maybe they feel after Sheikh Mansour took over they said, 'We can win titles here' and they are comfortable with their families in the city and that's why they decide to stay, so it's simple."

Sane is in talks with City about agreeing a new deal, but Guardiola suggested he had not played much of a role in those negotiations.

"I don't have any information about the club, or if we are in trouble with Leroy [about not yet coming to an agreement]," Guardiola said. "The last thing I heard was it's going well.

"But the process is not always the same, with Kevin it was in one, two days done but the others it will take longer but hopefully he can stay here for many, many years."

Former Barcelona president Josep Lluis Nunez has died aged 87, LaLiga's champions have announced.

Nunez took charge at Barca in 1978, with his subsequent 22-year tenure making him the longest-serving president in the club's history.

His time at the helm took in a celebrated chapter for Barcelona as Johan Cruyff returned as head coach in 1988.

Cruyff masterminded four consecutive league title triumphs between 1990-91 and 1993-94, while his "Dream Team" also won Barca's maiden European Cup in 1992.

A 4-0 defeat to AC Milan in the 1994 Champions League final marked the beginning of the end for Cruyff's great side and Nunez sacked him in 1996.

The Nunez era saw the arrival of global stars such as Diego Maradona, Michael Laudrup, Hristo Stoichkov, Romario, Ronaldo and Rivaldo, while Barcelona's celebrated La Masia academy was established.

"This was a decisive period in the club's history, with huge changes to the way football operated around the world, particularly in terms of finance and media attention," read a Barcelona statement paying tribute to Nunez.

"In such a long presidency, there were naturally highs and lows. But he was always strongly concerned about making the club into a financial powerhouse that could gain assets, while also being a fervent promoter of the supporters' club movement, in the belief that the financial and social aspects would in turn make the club more competitive on the pitch."

Barcelona's rivals Real Madrid offered their respects in a brief statement.

"Real Madrid CF mourns the death of Josep Lluis Nunez, who was president of FC Barcelona from 1978 to 2000.

"The club wants to share its condolences with his family, his friends, and FC Barcelona and all their fans."

Pep Guardiola was one of Barcelona's star players during the glory days under Cruyff and the Manchester City manager addressed Nunez's passing at a news conference on Monday.

"It's a big loss, of course. He was the president of Barcelona for many, many, many years," he said.

"A big hug, especially for all his family."

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