Pep leaves out Toure for 'sporting reasons'

Mercredi, 13 Sep, 2017

Pep Guardiola admits he does not know if Manchester City can win the Champions League as his side are still in the "process of growing".

They always say 10 points will see you through a Champions League group stage but with only six games to play that does not leave a great deal of room for error.

For City, they would have preferred a home game to start the campaign in Europe's elite competition, but the away trip to Rotterdam to face Feyenoord cannot be underestimated in terms of how the group could shape up.

Champions League football is back at De Kuip on Wednesday as group F begins with Feyenoord hosting Manchester City.

Manchester City currently have the most expensive defence, but with Kompany's future in jeopardy, they need to identify his replacement.

Guardiola, speaking at his pre-match press conference in Rotterdam, simply said a "sporting decision" had been made to omit the veteran midfielder from his squad.

In January, watching on as the club faltered, City's top brass vowed to ensure the manager was backed with whatever funds were needed to raise their level.

So the bejewelled story of Guardiola and the Champions League starts another chapter, 25 years on from his glorious introduction as a young Barcelona player in 1992, the season the club finally won the tournament for the first time.

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

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A photograph released since has shown eight stitches in wounds on the side of his face. At this moment they have the ability to get results this year.

"I don't know now if we're able to compete for the titles because we're in the process of growing".

Man City head into the game on the back of a 5-0 win over Liverpool.

Van Bronckhorst confirmed Feyenoord will be without striker Nicolai Jorgensen and defender Ridgeciano Haps due to hamstring injuries.

Feyenoord have started their domestic season even better than City, with four straight wins that see them out in front of the pack in the Eredivisie.

Compare that to a club like PSG, where huge funds are being invested with an obvious expectation that Champions League success will follow, and you realise Guardiola may never experience such perfect conditions again.

Asked if Toure can be expected to play a part in the coming weeks, Guardiola only muddied the waters further, adding: "Hopefully, it depends on him".

Manchester City, while not having the worst group by any stretch of the imagination, will need a good start.