Guardi­ola con­firms Bravo on his way to Manch­ester City

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport Starts Here -

MANCH­ESTER — Pep Guardi­ola in­sisted yes­ter­day that he will con­tinue work­ing with Joe Hart at Manch­ester City, even as Barcelona goal­keeper Clau­dio Bravo flew in to re­place the un­wanted Eng­land in­ter­na­tional.

Hart has been the most high-pro­file vic­tim of Guardi­ola’s new reign as man­ager of the Premier League club, with the City boss pub­licly an­nounc­ing his pref­er­ence for a goal­keeper who can play bet­ter with the ball at his feet.

Willy Ca­ballero re­placed Hart for City’s first three com­pet­i­tive games, all vic­to­ries, that Span­ish man­ager Guardi­ola has over­seen.

Bravo flew in to Manch­ester from Barcelona yes­ter­day to com­plete his re­ported £17 mil­lion trans­fer from the Span­ish club, a move that will see Hart, Eng­land’s undis­puted first-choice goal­keeper dur­ing this year’s Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships, rel­e­gated to third choice at the East­lands.

Hart’s plight has been com­pounded be­cause po­ten­tial moves to Ev­er­ton and Sevilla ap­pear to have fallen through, at least in part due to his high salary which makes even a loan move pro­hib­i­tive for many po­ten­tial suit­ors.

“I’ve an ex­cel­lent re­la­tion­ship with Joe. We’re clear —him with me, I with him. We spoke about foot­ball,” said Guardi­ola who was pho­tographed talk­ing to Hart dur­ing train­ing ahead of City’s Cham­pi­ons League qual­i­fy­ing tie with Steaua Bucharest.

“So I can’t deny what ev­ery­body knows. Barcelona, seven to 10 days ago, were the first ones to an­nounce con­tact with Manch­ester City.

“But I’m sorry guys, un­til the deal is com­plete or not com­plete (I can’t speak), but at the mo­ment the player (Bravo) is not our player,” Guardi­ola also told re­porters.

“Un­til Au­gust 31, all the play­ers here are my play­ers, and I will work with them like there is no end, so af­ter that we can speak about ev­ery­thing.

“The sit­u­a­tion with Joe, I spoke about in the last two press con­fer­ences. I am not able to speak about ne­go­ti­a­tions.”

Mean­while, Guardi­ola has backed for­ward Ra­heem Ster­ling to cope with the abuse he is re­ceiv­ing from op­po­si­tion sup­port­ers af­ter he was roundly booed in the week­end vic­tory at Stoke.

Ster­ling suf­fered more than most from Eng­land’s dis­ap­point­ing Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship cam­paign and at­tracted un­wanted at­ten­tion off the field, but Guardi­ola has no doubt his player will pre­vail.

“The fans may boo be­cause they know how good he is,” said the man­ager. “He has shown us, he has shown me, that in this team he is men­tally strong and can fo­cus on his job from the be­gin­ning of the game.

“He will make good things hap­pen for us and for the Eng­land na­tional team, I’m pretty sure of that,” the for­mer Barcelona and Bay­ern Mu­nich boss added.

“When peo­ple stop talk­ing about him for what hap­pens off the pitch and talk about him for what hap­pens on the pitch then ev­ery­thing is go­ing well.”

The City man­ager has made an im­pres­sive start to the new cam­paign de­spite be­ing with­out in­jured cap­tain Vin­cent Kom­pany and pre-sea­son sign­ings Ilkay Gun­do­gan and Leroy Sane, although he ex­pects the trio to be avail­able for the Manch­ester derby on Septem­ber 10.

“Now we have this week and then 10 days to work with them in train­ing ses­sions to im­prove their phys­i­cal con­di­tion,” said Guardi­ola.

“Hope­fully when we come back from the in­ter­na­tional break they will be fully part of our train­ing ses­sions.”— Sport24.

Clau­dio Bravo

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