No rest for City as Guardiola focuses on form


FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester City v Burnley - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - November 28, 2020 Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola Pool via REUTERS/Michael Regan

(Reuters) - Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has no intention of rotating his squad for Tuesday's Champions League trip to Porto and says if players are left out of the line-up it is not because he is giving them a rest.

City's squad has been tested by injury and illness early in the new season but they looked to be firing on all cylinders in Saturday's 5-0 Premier League win over Burnley.

Kevin De Bruyne and Kyle Walker were both missing from City's Champions League win at Olympiakos last week, with Guardiola saying current form is all that matters to him.

"It is not about rest," Guardiola told reporters.

"Kevin was a little exhausted mentally – that's true – but right now, I see the players who are in a better condition or more focused.

"If players believe I rest players because I am rotating, it's a big mistake."

City have qualified for the knockout stages of Europe's elite club competition with two games to spare after four straight wins in Group C.

One player who has seized his opportunities is John Stones.

The defender looked to have fallen out of favour following the arrivals of Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake but Guardiola was impressed by his performances against Olympiakos and Burnley.

"He was so concentrated and didn't make mistakes," the Spanish coach added. "What we are looking for in the back four is to avoid mistakes and the people up front score goals."

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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