Guardiola: Otamendi is a warrior

Pep Guardiola hailed Nicolas Otamendi’s courage and sparkling performances in part two of his City v Burnley preview.
Having delivered the latest team news and praised Benjamin Mendy’s inspirational attitude in part one, the manager also discussed his Argentine defender’s recent form – and his ‘strong mentality.’
There were also mentions for John Stones and Fabian Delph.
“I am really impressed,” he stated. “We always talk about the guys who play offensively but John and Nico – both of them – were fantastic in the last month. They have played all of the games.
“I had doubts about playing Nico against Stoke City because he came back from Argentina where he had ten days of a lot of pressure in his mind – to help them qualify for the World Cup.
“He played in difficult conditions in Ecuador – he travelled and arrived the day before.
“He is one of the players I’ve met in my life with the strongest mentality with the same confidence.
“He is a guy who wants to learn – in terms of ball possession. He was always strong in the air, winning duels which is necessary in England.
“He has courage to play. If he loses a game, he says: ‘give me the ball again and play.’ I give a lot of credit and value to this kind of thing.
“I am really impressed with the level he has. I am so happy with him. He is not afraid at all – it doesn’t matter where he plays.
“He has a lot of experience and he is such an important guy for us. Over the last month and I think for all of the season, he will play outstanding. He and John – both of them.”
On the subject of Stones and stand-in left-back Delph, Guardiola continued: “John last year had one or two mistakes with the ball. This year, he is always focused. I know his quality but he has improved.
“[With Mendy sidelined], we are going to decide what will happen in the January transfer window but we have Fabi. Of course, Danilo can play there but he is right-footed and we also have Oleks Zinchenko.
“We are going to see in the next games if he is able to play in that position.
“Fabian is playing awesome. He has had no injuries and game by game, he is getting more confidence and stronger.
“He played unbelievable again against Napoli.
“It is difficult for me to make comments about defenders. They have to be focused. Sometimes, when the manager speaks quite well of a player, they will relax and we cannot accept that!”

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Elise Buckley

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