Pep Guardiola outlines Aymeric Laporte fitness plan after Man City injury scare

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Manchester City will continue to manage the minutes of Aymeric Laporte, as Pep Guardiola admits he is still not at full fitness following his injury troubles this season.

Laporte missed the first two months of the season after undergoing surgery in the summer, and has started two Champions League games as well as coming off the bench in the Manchester derby.

He started his first Premier League game of the season at home to Brighton, although City’s medical team may have been worried when he received a nasty kick towards the end of the 3-1 win.

Laporte stayed down for a period, but was able to play the final minutes of injury time – although he looked in some discomfort and was asking players not to pass him the ball.

However, Guardiola said after the game that Laporte can sometimes be ‘exuberant’ when getting kicks of that nature, and said the Spaniard was walking normally in the dressing room.

Explaining how City must continue to manage Laporte’s fitness, Guardiola said: “I didn’t speak with him but he came in the locker room quite well, walked normally. Aymer when he gets a kick is a little exuberant.

“Important is he has a big injury a long way, we want to control the minutes. Always every game at the end he suffers muscular issues. Today was really difficult for everyone, every player. Aymer has the ball, a man [is there], everyone has a man, in that position he has to jump a little bit more the first steps, and playing more direct that we are not used.

“That’s why we struggle a little bit but a part of that is the quality of the opponent. There are teams when they have the ball they throw it, long balls, you can imagine, and try again. Against this team is completely the opposite. They demand you do something unusual, they are man to man and when they have the ball say come to us and we will run behind you.”

Asked if Laporte’s distribution was a boost for City in their tough game against Brighton, Guardiola gave an unusual explanation to how effective the Seagulls were.

“How do you make distribution when you go to the toilet and have a man?” he asked.

“No space. Wherever you go, they come. The solution is more difficult. The only player who can go to the toilet is Pederson. The only one not being followed. Eddy has to save the ball, he can make passes but not all the time. That’s why it’s difficult.

“You have to play more to Erling, can be more direct to Riyad or Jack. You play here with Gross you have a man. I have a feeling, Mac Allister is really good as well. Every time you lose the ball, counter-attack. That’s why they play a type of game you are not used to.

“I give a lot of credit for the victory, we have the outstanding action with Kevin. Otherwise 93 minutes we are like this. Because they have a lot of balls when they arrive there with Gross, Trossard, Mac Allister, March, Lamptey. They are really good, aggressive with Dunk. How many teams play Dunk vs Haaland man-to-man?

“Big space behind. Which teams can do it? They can do it. Because another man with Haaland and another man behind after we can play. But it didn’t happen. That’s why it’s so difficult. I’m very satisfied for the performance of my team.”

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