Sport

Pep leaves out Toure for 'sporting reasons'

"There are differences in relation to other countries", Mourinho said.

And it would be best to avoid Real Madrid. While they are without the injured Nicolai Jorgensen, who was the league's top scorer with 21 last season, Guardiola struck a cautious note.

But Guardiola - who has managed in Spain and Germany - disagrees, arguing each manager must take responsibility for his team's failings.

"I'l try to put my best team on the pitch". "But if we don't win or have a good performance, it will be a failure". I know how they play.

As Manchester City prepare to launch their 2017-18 assault on the Champions League, manager Pep Guardiola will be well aware of the pressure facing him to make serious advances towards the oft-stated designs of the club's ambitious owners. "He is coming back soon", Guardiola added. "English teams spend more money but I grew up with the Holland culture and I know how they play". I was a football player working with my idol Johan Cruyff [at Barcelona] and after that Louis van Gaal, a lot of Holland players in my team. I know how complicated it is.

Benjamin Mendy, Bernardo Silva, Ederson, Danilo and Kyle Walker arrived during the summer.

But Guardiola warned that his side are still a work in progress.

"I'm always happy, but of course I demand as much as possible".

Yet Guardiola said: "I don't know if we are able to compete".

The matter raises fresh questions over the 34-year-old's future.

Pressed on why Toure has stayed behind in Manchester, the Spaniard told reporters at Tuesday's press conference: "I spoke with him, he knows the reason why. It's a sporting decision".

Manchester City kick off their Champions League campaign in Rotterdam on Wednesday night, aiming to get out of a pretty straight-forward group and go far beyond last season's second-round showing.

Their reunion in Manchester got off to a rocky start as Toure returned to pre-season training overweight and was then banished from the first-team picture after his agent Dimitri Seluk criticised Guardiola. That, in turn, led to a longer period of isolation.

That was eventually resolved, with Toure not only winning back his place but doing enough to earn a new contract. The Irish defender made 31 appearances last season, grabbing 4 clean sheets.

"But the decision why he hasn't played this season and is not in the squad - he knows the reason why". He knows the reason.

"Hopefully [he will play again soon], it depends on him".

Ederson is with the squad despite having eight stitches in a facial wound after being caught in the face by Sadio Mane's boot at the weekend.



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