Man City's Agüero signs one-year contract extension
Frustrated Gary Cahill considering leaving Chelsea in January
Manchester City’s manager Pep Guardiola and assistant coach Mikel Arteta during training at City Football Academy in Manchester. Photograph: Getty Images
Pep Guardiola says he has no wish to play games with Neil Warnock after Cardiff’s manager claimed a tackle by Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne on Jazz Richards last season ruled the defender out for 17 games.
Guardiola takes his side to Cardiff following the teams’ acrimonious FA Cup tie last season. The City manager was unhappy at a tackle by Joe Bennett that left Leroy Sané with ligament damage, and this caused Guardiola to ask for greater protection for all players.
Told of Warnock’s claim regarding De Bruyne, Guardiola said: “I’m not going to discuss a game that happened six or seven months ago, the decisions of the referee. I’m not going to play that game.”
Warnock said regarding protecting players: “I totally agree with him. Sané missed three games, but if you watched in the 50th minute there was a tackle from Kevin De Bruyne on Jazz Richards that put him out for 17 games. So I would say: ‘Which is the worst?’ That sounds like a worse tackle than Bennett’s but we didn’t make a song and dance about that.”
Guardiola played down any notion Sané might have a mental block should he face Bennett again. “I didn’t speak with him, but he’s forgotten it. It’s a new game.”
Despite City losing to Lyon in midweek in the Champions League, Guardiola, who had 11 players involved in World Cup quarter-finals or beyond, refused to blame a hangover from the summer tournament. “No, the mind controls everything… They are young, train every day and we take care of them.”
Guardiola has revealed that Benjamin Mendy has an injured fifth metatarsal, with City’s manager unsure how long the left-back will be out. The 24-year-old has missed the past two games. It is understood the problem is bruising in the left foot and minor.
Meanwhile Sergio Agüero has signed a one-year contract extension to stay at City until 2021. If the striker sees out the deal it would mean he will have been at the club for a decade, having joined from Atlético Madrid in summer 2011.
Guardiola welcomed the news that Agüero had signed a one-year contract extension.
The 30-year-old has scored three goals in six appearances this season, and has drawn praise from Guardiola for his all-round game, an area the manager has been keen for Agüero to improve. “I am so happy he has signed a new contract and can stay 10 years at the club,” Guardiola said.
The sentiment from Agüero, City’s all-time leading goalscorer, was similar. “My idea was being here for 10 years,” he said. “I’ve been here for seven years, it’s going to be 10 when the contract expires. This was the main reason I signed. I’m very happy because they have treated me very well since the first day I got here.”
City suffered a surprise 2-1 home defeat to Lyon in Wednesday’s opening Champions League group game. Yet Guardiola defended his team, saying they were not required to say sorry.
“The players don’t have to apologise. Why should they? They ran, they fought, tried to make a comeback. The competition punishes the mistakes. We made a lot of mistakes. But they don’t have to apologise.”
Meanwhile, Gary Cahill is considering leaving Chelsea in January having become frustrated by his absence from Maurizio Sarri’s team. Four months on from captaining the club to FA Cup glory, as well as to a fifth-place finish in the Premier League, the defender has yet to feature under the Italian, and is giving serious thought to making a “tough decision” regarding his future.
Cahill has made more than 280 appearances for Chelsea since arriving from Bolton in 2012, and helped the club win honours including two Premier League titles, the Champions League and two FA Cups, the most recent via a 1-0 victory over Manchester United in May. Cahill played the entire game, Antonio Conte’s last as Chelsea manager, and lifted the trophy at Wembley before joining up with England’s World Cup squad.
He returned from Russia just before the start of the campaign, and has found himself in the shadows at Stamford Bridge, failing to make the matchday squad for any of Chelsea’s five Premier League games, all of which been won, and remaining on the bench throughout Thursday’s Europa League win at PAOK Salonika, when, despite the absence of David Luiz, Sarri chose Andreas Christensen to partner Antonio Rüdiger in central defence.
“Having been a big part of things for six years, I’m finding it difficult to deal with this situation,” Cahill said. “A lot of things have been running through my head. We had such a good experience at the World Cup, and I’d never take that back. The flip side is I came back a week before the season started against three defenders who’d been back plenty of time before me.
“To learn a new way of defending and new ideas – I’m sure [Sarri] didn’t feel comfortable putting me in, and so I fully expected to miss the start of the season, and we’ve not lost, so there’s no arguments from my point of view.
“But at the same time, thinking back to when Petr Cech was at the club – when Thibaut [Courtois] came he found it difficult to get game time but he knew he could play week in, week out. I’m in a similar situation.”
Cahill’s contract expires next summer. Asked whether he could leave during the next transfer window the 32-year-old replied: “I don’t want to jump the gun but as things stand, probably yes. Sometimes you have to make tough decisions. I did that when I was at Villa all those years ago. If I had been patient maybe I would’ve played in that first team, but I wanted to take the decision to go and play regularly. As it is, I’m not enjoying things. That’s just me.”
No personal issues
Cahill has not spoken with Sarri regarding his lack of involvement, but insists he has no personal issues with the 59-year-old and is prepared to see “how the land lies” for a while longer.
The manager could select Cahill for Sunday’s trip to West Ham. However the player’s impatience will only heighten should he be left out again, especially given his decision to effectively retire from international duty partly so he could concentrate on club duties.
“I’m in great condition, I’ve not wasted the time when I haven’t been playing,” Cahill said. “I’ve been training even harder, in the gym, and I know I can play week in, week out. Not a problem.
“I’m proud of what I’ve done here, and what I’ve achieved in such a short space of time. Now I have to take charge of my own future, and I just hope the club will respect that when it comes to the time. For me to do this all season is going to be very difficult.”