Pep Guardiola insists he remains happy with Leroy Sane’s attitude despite leaving the forward out of his Manchester City squad for Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Newcastle.
Sane has endured a testing few months since winning the PFA Young Player of the Year award in April, having been left out of Germany’s World Cup squad and he has failed to make the starting line-up for any of City’s opening four Premier League games.
It has been widely reported that Guardiola has been unhappy with Sane’s application in training, yet the City manager is unwilling to criticise the player in public. Instead, he suggested that Sane was omitted solely because he has so many other attacking options.
Asked if he was happy with Sane’s attitude, Guardiola said simply: “Yeah.”
Guardiola compared Sane’s omission from his squad to that of teenage midfielder Phil Foden for last Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Wolves.
“In the last game, Phil Foden was not in the squad. I was so sad for Phil, I’m so sad for Leroy now but we have a squad. Sometimes I have to leave players out,” Guardiola said.
“We have six strikers and I decide to play with two strikers. We have two wingers plus another one on the bench. That’s why we decided this game: Don’t be there (in the squad), try to work hard again and in the next games he will be ready to play.”
Guardiola claimed he has had no problems with Sane’s performances when he has been called on as a substitute for City this season. His most recent appearance was a 13-minute cameo at Wolves.
“He played 10-12 minutes, he tried,” Guardiola said. “He was not precise but he tried. They know me. They (must) convince me.
“I am satisfied the moment they run and they do everything. Mistakes on the ball and taking decisions are part of the process. It’s no problem.”
City have 10 points from their opening four matches, having beaten Newcastle with goals from Raheem Sterling, making his 100th Premier League appearance, and Kyle Walker, scoring for the first time since November 2015.
© Agence France-Presse (additional edits from Chris Kelleher)