Fit­ness is­sues still re­strict­ing Mendy’s avail­abil­ity

Manchester Evening News - - SPORT -

BEN­JAMIN Mendy is still not fit enough to hold down a reg­u­lar place in the City team, ac­cord­ing to Pep Guardiola. The Blues paid a record sum for a de­fender in 2017 to sign the French­man from Monaco but have seen him side­lined with prob­lems for much of his time at the Eti­had.

Se­ri­ous in­juries re­stricted him to just four league starts in his de­but sea­son, ten last year and he has only started five this term; for the big­gest games of the sea­son - Liver­pool and United - for­mer youth team player An­gelino has been pre­ferred in the start­ing line-up and the de­fen­sive is­sues in the team were ex­posed in both de­feats.

City’s man­ager ex­plained af­ter the derby loss that An­gelino was picked be­cause he is cur­rently at a higher level than Mendy with the 25-year-old still strug­gling to find his rhythm.

With Aleks Zinchenko now back in con­tention af­ter six weeks out in­jured, Mendy - one of the most ex­pen­sive sign­ings in City’s his­tory - could find him­self third choice in the peck­ing or­der at the club.

“He needs time,” said Guardiola. “Af­ter two years in­jured, one week you are fit and one week you play so you need time.

“In that mo­ment An­gelino feels bet­ter and plays bet­ter than the other one in this po­si­tion.”

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