MANCHESTER, England — Pep Guardiola insisted he was relaxed about Benjamin Mendy despite claims he was out partying until the early hours of Saturday morning before Manchester City’s match with Fulham.
The French defender, who has played just 27 minutes since injuring a knee in November, was left out of the squad that travelled to London for Saturday’s Premier League clash.
But Mendy, who does not drink alcohol, was filmed at a nightclub in Manchester allegedly at 3:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, according to a video obtained by English newspaper the Daily Mirror.
“They are old enough to know what they have to do, I’m not his father,” Guardiola told a news conference ahead of the clash with Cardiff City. “I would prefer him to go sleep earlier but I don’t control the players in that situation.
“I’m not frustrated. I’m a relaxed guy. It might not look like it but I sleep quite well.”
Guardiola confirmed that Mendy trained on Saturday and is available for Wednesday’s game against Cardiff that could see City return to the top of the Premier League.
Mendy, 24, angered Guardiola earlier in the season when he was three hours late for training after attending a boxing match in London. Sources told ESPN FC that the City boss was annoyed by the Frenchman’s lack of professionalism and the latest incident will not help his cause.
Mendy has made just 20 appearances since his move from Monaco in the summer of 2017, suffering a cruciate ligament injury in his first season and a futher setback this season. The former Marseille defender is the only recognised left-back at the club and City are considering bringing in a new face when the transfer window opens this summer with Leicester City’s Ben Chilwell remaining a top target.
Meanwhile, Guardiola has told his players and fans that there is no harm in dreaming about a quadruple although he is under no illusions about how difficult it would be to win three more trophies before the end of the season.
“I’m not in the minds of my players and the fans to tell them what to think. If they want to dream and think about winning everything I’m not a guy to say anything,” he added. “But from my experience as a manager when you’re distracted about other situations — at 8 p.m. I just want you to focus and play good to win the game.
“Why should you [talk about] the quadruple when in this country — a legendary country — it has never happened before. Legendary teams like Liverpool, the period [for Manchester United] with Sir Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho and Chelsea, Arsene Wenger with Arsenal — no one did it. So why should we do it?”