Pep Guardiola surprised by Raheem Sterling want-away comments

At Man United, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he will not be pressured into playing Cristiano Ronaldo

The Premier League resumes after the international break, with the top four teams looking for successful weekends.

Chelsea visit Brentford for a London derby in the late game on Saturday, while Manchester City and Manchester United play Burnley at home and Leicester away, respectively.

Burnley have lost 5-0 in their last four visits to City in all competitions.

Liverpool, the other team in the top four, travel to Watford, where Claudio Ranieri has just moved into the coach’s seat.

City coach Pep Guardiola, speaking at the pregame press conference, expressed surprise at comments from Raheem Sterling that he would consider leaving Manchester City.

But the City manager, however, admitted he could understand why players would want more game time.

“Raheem is our player, hopefully he will be an incredibly important player for us. I don't know if he wants to play more game time — I cannot assure them, they know that. I cannot assure how many minutes every player is going to play,” he said.

“Always they have to speak on the grass, on the pitch. That is the best way. Not [only] Raheem, all of them.

“They know they are going to play minutes, I'm not a guy that plays only 11 players. All of them are involved.”

City are without first-choice goalkeeper Ederson and forward Gabriel Jesus for Burnley’s visit.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he would not be pressured into playing Cristiano Ronaldo if he believes the Portugal star should be left out.

“I'm the manager, I manage the players. I manage for the club but, of course it's nice to have him on the pitch because he'll always come up with the goods and the more we have him on the pitch, the better,” Solskjaer said.

“He's an exceptional player, exceptional finisher, and a goal scorer, and an exceptional professional. It's hard to leave him out.”

With five goals in six games since his blockbuster return to United from Juventus in August, Ronaldo has quickly established himself as a key figure as they chase the club's first trophy since 2017.

Former United manager Alex Ferguson added his voice to the criticism of Solskjaer's decision when he said “you should always start with your best players".

Thomas Tuchel has warned Chelsea not to expect an easy ride during a run of fixtures that could boost their League title challenge.

In the next four games, Chelsea have to play the current bottom three — Norwich, Newcastle, Burnley — and on Saturday, this season’s surprise package, newly promoted Brentford.

Tuchel said it would be foolish to expect wins just because they would go into the matches as favourites.

“I cannot agree less with you because you used the word easier,” Tuchel said.

“If favourite means things will be easy, we cannot be more wrong and this is the total wrong path to go. If being favourite means we still expect a tough one tomorrow at Brentford then this is a good one to accept.”

Updated: October 15th 2021, 10:00 PM
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