Compassionate Pep welcomes Silva back into City squad for trip to Stoke

Tuesday, 13 Mar, 2018

"I prefer to play at weekends, when all the teams play", said Guardiola. Their first matchup this season saw the Blues absolutely destroy Stoke and win 7-2 in what was Pep Guardiola's most lopsided victory in England. I want to be part of that history.

There are few players in England who know what's needed to win Premier League titles more than David Silva, and the Spanish global looks destined to secure a third medal as a City player.

While it is a case of champions-elect against relegation battlers, Stoke have already beaten Arsenal and Manchester United at their ground in this campaign and can jump out of the bottom three with a win. "For me, the most important thing is to make the second-team (Under-23) league stronger".

He admits to having doubts after a hard baptism to life in English football but is grateful the hierarchy remained supportive throughout the tough times.

Mendy, who made a huge impression in the early weeks of the season after joining City in a £49.1million move from Monaco, has said he hopes to return to action next month. "We need to be relaxed, stay calm and think about Stoke City".

It's a scenario that is very much on the cards as things stand, though there are plenty of blanks still to be filled in-between. "He believes, 'I am strong, I will come back soon, I will play like I did before the injury.' That is not happening".

Manchester City's David Silva, right, celebrates scoring his second goal during the English Premier League football match between Stoke City and Manchester City at the Bet 365 Stadium in Stoke on Trent, England, Monday, March 12, 2018.

City captain Vincent Kompany offered support to Silva, who has been given permission to miss the Abu Dhabi trip to spend time in Spain. At 4-0 (from the first leg) it was not the best game for us, but we didn't have to play like that. "It gives us perspective and brings a moment of joy into our lives".

If there were any doubters left that Pep Guardiola's philosophy won't work in the Premier League, the final argument must surely now have been buried by a victory on a notorious wet and windy Monday night at Stoke City.

However, The Potters have won just one of their previous 10 league games and have failed to score in five of their last nine matches.

Kostas Stafylidis of Stoke on facing the leaders: "We have to fight, fight, fight for... There is always room for improvement and that is what we will do".