SHOWS: MANCHESTER, ENGLAND, UK (JANUARY 10, 2020) (REUTERS-ACCESS ALL)
1. MANCHESTER CITY MANAGER PEP GUARDIOLA AT NEWS CONFERENCE
2. (SOUNDBITE)(English) MANCHESTER CITY MANAGER PEP GUARDIOLA AFTER BEING ASKED ABOUT AYMERIC LAPORT'S PLAYING STATUS, SAYING:
"He is training every day. He feels no pain and after training he feels good, but I don't know when he will be ready to play some minutes but it's closer than last month."
3. (SOUNDBITE)(English) MANCHESTER CITY'S PEP GUARDIOLA AFTER BEING ASKED ABOUT LEROY SANE, SAYING:
"Not at all. It's awkward because I can't see him on the pitch. He's in the gym and making recovery. That is unfortunate for all of us. He is a nice person, I know him quite well. I was the guy who pushed the club and convinced him to come here when he didn't play at Schalke regularly. So no doubt about him and his quality. But what I've said many times in front of you, each one has his own family, desires and dreams. Above that I cannot do anything else."
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: "Is it not personally upsetting for you..."
GUARDIOLA: "Absolutely not. Where you were three years ago you're not the same now. I'm not the same guy as when I arrived here. Players have their dreams that they want to be accomplished. I want him to come back fit now, his knee looks really good, after that it's not my business. In terms of what the club and the agent and the player himself want to do with his own future, it's not in my hands."
STORY: Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is impressed with Aymeric Laporte's progress as he returns from injury but said the club will have to wait for medical staff to give the all-clear before the Frenchman can return to first-team action he told reporters on Friday (January 10)
Laporte damaged cartilage and the lateral meniscus in his right knee after a challenge on Brighton & Hove Albion's Adam Webster and had surgery in September but is now back training on grass on his own.
"He is training every day and has finished the training with a good feeling and no pain," Guardiola told a news conference ahead of City's trip to Aston Villa on Sunday.
"I don't know honestly when he will be ready to play some minutes but of course it is closer. He is moving really well so I think the operation was good."
In Laporte's absence, defending champions City have struggled defensively and slipped 14 points behind league leaders Liverpool, having played a game more than Juergen Klopp's side.
"Aymeric with his left foot, plays the left side and he is quick," Guardiola added. "He settled quickly in this league since he arrived. Of course (his return) is important for us but we have to respect the process."
Another City player recovering from a long-term knee injury is winger Leroy Sane. German media have recently reported that Bayern Munich's long-standing interest in him has been put on hold until the end of the season.
When asked about Sane's future at the Etihad Stadium, Guardiola said: "It is a question for Leroy, his agents and the club. I am not involved in that.
"I know him well. I was the guy who pushed for him to come here even though he didn't play regularly for Schalke.
"I want him to come back fit now, his knee looks really good, after that it's not my business. His own future is not in my hands."
(Production: Peter Bullock)