Guardiola puts faith in teenage defenders

Manchester City could turn to teenage defenders Eric Garcia and Taylor Harwood-Bellis to fill in at centre-back with two of its senior defenders sidelined with long-term injuries, said manager Pep Guardiola.
Guardiola puts faith in teenage defenders
Pep Guardiola
John Stones is out for five weeks due to a muscle injury and Aymeric Laporte is recovering from a knee surgery, leaving Nicolas Otamendi as Guardiola’s only available first-team centre-back. One of Garcia (18) or Harwood-Bellis (17) could make their Premier League debut if midfielder Fernandinho, who was deployed as a central defender in the 3-0 Champions League win at Shakhtar Donetsk, does not start in the back line.

“We don’t have many other options, in two young players we trust a lot,” Guardiola told reporters ahead of Saturday’s game at home to Watford. “It’s not a problem, it’s a challenge we have to accept and be positive. We will do it, be happy and work hard.”

City thrashed Watford 6-0 in the FA Cup final last season to seal an unprecedented domestic treble, but Guardiola does not expect a similar result, especially after the bottom side drew 2-2 with Arsenal under new manager Quique Sanchez Flores. “It (FA Cup final) was the last game of the season. We played knowing we could be part of something unique in English football history,” he added.

“But now it’s totally different. It’s the beginning of the season. I saw its game against Arsenal and the second half was incredible.”

(Premier League matches can be caught live on Hotstar VIP)

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