Pep hails ‘important’ win over Burnley; Talks Dias, Ferran, Otamendi

Pep Guardiola reaction
Photo by PAUL ELLIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

It may have been the League Cup fourth round, but Pep Guardiola said it was “important” for Manchester City to beat Burnley at Turf Moor on Wednesday.

City’s known to play well against the Clarets and rode two goals from Raheem Sterling to a 3-0 win and a spot in the quarterfinals, a very different performance from the one in a 5-2 home loss to Leicester City at the weekend.

[ MORE: League Cup recaps ]

After a later start to the season than most of the Premier League, plenty of injuries, and just one more match before the international break, getting City’s players going is a priority for Pep Guardiola.

“We are still far away from our best because we’re not training much,” Guardiola said. “Step by step when we have all the squad we will get better. I hope we won’t be far away from the people up front but we are in the quarter-finals of this competition again so it’s good. When you lose a game the most important thing is the next one.”

Already measuring the table. Wow.

City started USMNT backstop Zack Steffen as well as unusual starters Cole Palmer and Ferran Torres. Aymeric Laporte got his first 90 minutes since a positive COVID-19 test and Bernardo Silva made his season debut off the bench.

Steffen made two stops for his clean sheet and 18-year-old Palmer was okay in his senior debut, but Torres was Man of the Match quality good. The $26 million Valencia import had his first City goal and assist in the win.

“He is a young player and still needs a little bit of time to understand what we want to do,” Guardiola said. “He’s clever in the final third, with his passes. He doesn’t cross to cross, he passes the ball.”

He was also asked about new signing Ruben Dias and the outgoing Nicolas Otamendi.

“The season we won the league with 100 points (Otamendi) was incredible,” he said. “He played with a broken ankle, with 20 stitches, he had a great mentality so I wish him and his family all the best.

“We know Ruben Dias’s personality and I am sure he will be an incredible player for the next six or seven years. We’re very happy to have him. Our back four are now a young team. We start training tomorrow and get going as quick as possible.”

Will Guardiola be willing to trot out Dias versus Leeds this weekend?

That’s soon but also notable that he brought Nathan Ake and Taylor Harwood-Bellis off the bench for some minutes while playing Fernandinho and returning Aymeric Laporte the entire 90.