Pep Guardiola feels his Manchester City squad are in great shape as they prepare to launch their latest Premier League campaign.
City return to action after a shortened summer break when they travel to Wolves on Monday evening.
From the outside, the club’s pre-season has been less than ideal.
They have made two key new signings in centre-half Nathan Ake and winger Ferran Torres but the squad may still be a central defender light and greater depth in the left-back position may still be required.
Injury has robbed them of the services of record goalscorer Sergio Aguero, who could be out of action for a further two months, while Riyad Mahrez and Aymeric Laporte are short of fitness after positive Covid-19 tests.
In addition to this there have been the distractions of heavy speculation linking them with Lionel Messi and Phil Foden’s disciplinary indiscretion while on international duty.
It has also been just five weeks since the 2019-20 season ended in disappointing fashion with a Champions League quarter-final defeat to Lyon.
Nevertheless, Guardiola is ready for action.
“My feeling is good as always,” Guardiola said. “It’s a joy to work with these players at this club.
“I see the team in an incredible mood, and it is a joy to work with them, we’ve got good expectations to play good football, get the results this club deserves and continue the consistency that we got in the last few years.”
Despite finishing as runners-up, City were underwhelming in the Premier League last season, finishing a distant second to champions Liverpool.
Guardiola’s side were beaten nine times throughout the campaign.
Two of those losses came at the hands of Wolves and Guardiola admits travelling to Molineux, ahead of games against Leicester and Leeds, makes for a tough start.
He said: “They are always strong. We played them in the Carabao Cup when they were in the Championship and it was tough, we won on penalties. It is always a really difficult game.
“Whether it’s Leicester or Leeds away, we know how tough it is.”
With the season beginning a month later than usual following last season’s suspension, but with a plan for time to be made up, City’s schedule will be intense.
“It is what it is,” Guardiola said. “We cannot change the situation. We have to adapt.”
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