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Saturday 23 September 2017

'Bravo is here for keeps' - Pep

Carlos Bravo kept his fourth clean sheet for Manchester City on Wednesday. Pic: Reuters
Carlos Bravo kept his fourth clean sheet for Manchester City on Wednesday. Pic: Reuters

Pep Guardiola has dismissed claims goalkeeper Claudio Bravo is unhappy at Manchester City.

Some reports in the Spanish media in midweek suggested the 33-year-old had struggled to settle since his £15.4million (€18.4million)move to the Etihad Stadium from Barcelona in August.

City manager Guardiola says he has not seen those reports but such information would contradict what Bravo told him while discussing residency issues during the week.

"I didn't read that," said Guardiola, speaking at a press conference. "I spoke with Bravo in the last days, with his wife and their little daughter. He told me he is so happy."

Speaking

Asked why he was speaking to Bravo and his wife, Guardiola said: "He came here for the passport issues, what the English department needs to be settled in England. Normally I don't call the wives of my players!"

Ikay Gundogan is out for the forseeable future. Pic: PA
Ikay Gundogan is out for the forseeable future. Pic: PA

Bravo's signing was controversial as it led to the displacement of long-time number one and England first choice Joe Hart, who is now on loan at Torino.

The Chile international was signed principally because of what was seen as a superior ability to play out from the back with his feet.

Consequently, his performances have been heavily scrutinised and there was criticism after a bad mistake against Manchester United, a sending-off at Barcelona and poor displays against Chelsea and Leicester this month.

Bravo himself, however, recently suggested that he was starting to adjust to life at City. Speaking in the matchday programme for Wednesday's game against Watford, he said: "Little by little, I feel more involved and I'm getting more embedded within the team."

Bravo kept only his fourth clean sheet in 17 City appearances as they beat Watford 2-0.

That victory was also City's first home win in the Premier League for almost three months and ended a run of three games without a win.

Guardiola, whose methods have also been questioned, will now hope his side can carry some momentum into tomorrow's crunch home clash against title rivals Arsenal.

Guardiola says he has the highest respect for the Gunners and their long-serving boss Arsene Wenger, who he referred to as the "commander-in-chief" as he spoke to media to preview the game.

He said: "He's the boss, no? He's the chief for Arsenal! That's why. I'm the commander-in-chief for Manchester City.

"I saw so many Netflix series and that's why (I called him that). Commander-in-chief and colonel, I use a lot.

"He has been here a long time. When that happens at a club such as Arsenal, it's because a person is doing a good job.

"I understand it's not easy to win the Premier League, but I have a lot of respect for his career. I've said many times that I admire the way he tries to play and especially the quality of the players they like and they buy. I like a lot."

Future

Manchester City will be without Germany midfielder Ilkay Gundogan tomorrow and the forseaable future after he suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury, the club confirmed yesterday.

"It's so, so difficult for him, it's sad for him," Guardiola added.

"We're going to miss him a lot, it's unlucky, but that's football.

Safe

"Now we need him to feel we are there and wait and come back safe. He's going to be operated [on] and be back as soon as possible."

Gundogan joined City from Borussia Dortmund in June and was just settling into the side when he sustained the injury in the Watford win.

It is the player's second serious knee injury of the year having dislocated the patella of the same joint playing basketball prior to joining City last spring.

He consequently missed the first six games of the season for his new club.

The £20million signing has since made 16 appearances for City, scoring five goals.

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