Pep Guardiola: ‘We are delighted with Raheem Sterling ... we count on him’

Unai Emery

Unai Emery

Guardiola added: "People only judge players on the goals they score at the World Cup, but Raheem has this special relation with English football, he's so loved in the locker room".

Several, including England stars Raheem Sterling, Kyle Walker and John Stones, cut short their holidays to get back into training with City.

Attempting to become the first team since Manchester United in 2009 to retain the title, the champions were good value with goals by Raheem Stirling and Bernardo Silva. It will be interesting to see if he can replicate last season's form.

Another starter who might not make the XI is Aaron Ramsey who suffered a calf injury in pre-season. "No-one can deny it is complicated, so to win the way we won is more than pleasing".

Guardiola does recognise, however, that City do come into the new campaign from a good starting point following last season's successes. "But I think this process today is normal, especially against a team like Manchester City".

And Guardiola twisted the knife by insisting City are still some way from their peak.

"I am happy with the players", Emery said. "I'm a trainer", Guardiola said after the win over Arsenal. They show me on the green stuff (the pitch).

"We are not going to judge what is going to happen after one game but we try to respond, we try to be ourselves".

"We are excited. We have a lot of ambition to start [well] on Sunday against the last winners of the Premier League. We defended very well and were a very compact team". Danilo is expected to miss the opening games of the season with an ankle injury.

Key to City's bid for continual improvement is the competition in the squad which requires the players maintain high standards, Guardiola said.

"Mendy has a lot of things to improve". "In the second half, we forced them to make mistakes and we had some opportunities".

The first round of Premier League fixtures have already kicked off and the biggest game of the weekend is arguably between Arsenal and Manchester City.

New Arsenal boss Unai Emery " He has enough experience to know exactly what [it takes].

The Spaniard admitted that his side needed to improve, but was content with what he saw from his players over the course of the 90 minutes. Working to help when we need quick pressing against the opposition. Although it's obvious he wants Arsenal to play the ball out from the back, one wonders if a more direct approach might have enabled them to bypass City's midfield. The same when we are thinking defensively, I want our strikers to be thinking: "We need to protect the goalkeepers".

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