Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has effectively admitted he no longer has a first – choice goalkeeper after declaring he will choose between Willy Caballero and Claudio Bravo on a game – by – game basis.
Bravo was brought in from Barcelona in August to be the senior goalkeeper , but has lost his Premier League place to Caballero in recent weeks after a series of inconsistent displays.
Chile international Bravo was brought back in for the FA Cup fifth- round tie at Huddersfield 10 days ago , and is widely expected to be selected for the replay at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday .
Guardiola , however , has rotated his keepers for domestic cup ties this season , so that would then mean Argentine Caballero returning for Sunday ’ s Premier League trip to Sunderland .
But Spaniard Guardiola , who let England goalkeeper Joe Hart leave City for a loan move to Italian side Torino last year, insisted on Tuesday he was reviewing the goalkeeping situation constantly.
“ They (Caballero and Bravo ) are so professional , they are exceptional, so there’ s no problem about that , ” Guardiola explained.
“ You may not believe me, but I am not thinking about who is the first and who is the second .
“ I decide on what I see , on what is the recent past, on the upcoming situation of the future . We are going to decide game by game .
“ I have to think about it, not just with goalkeepers .
“ Tomorrow’ s a ‘ final ’ against one team (Huddersfield ) who impressed a lot when we played there away. They are near the top of the Championship . Sometimes , teams at the top of the Championship are stronger than teams in the Premier League.
“ So it’ s one game . We know how many surprises there are in the Cup , so I have to think about it after the training session tomorrow ( Wednesday ) morning . ”
– Kompany return on hold –
City made eight changes for the goalless draw at Huddersfield’ s John Smith ’ s Stadium , and fringe players such as Pablo Zabaleta , Jesus Navas and Nolito are likely to be given a chance to impress again .
Wednesday ’ s game is the first of five in 19 days for Guardiola ’ s men, with Premier League tests against Stoke and Liverpool , as well as Sunderland , and the second leg of their Champions League last – 16 tie in Monaco to come .
City captain Vincent Kompany , though , is not ready to return after multiple injury setbacks , with the most recent a leg problem .
The Belgium international has played only six times this season , and has been dogged by injury woes over the last two years .
Guardiola , though , insisted Kompany was close to a return , and would be able to play a full part in the remainder of the season .
“ Vincent is not ready for tomorrow , ” the manager said . “He is much better but not for tomorrow . ”
Guardiola and his players had a short break in Abu Dhabi after having no game last weekend, with scheduled opponents Manchester United beating Southampton in the League Cup final at Wembley instead .
The Abu Dhabi trip saw Guardiola meet with City owner Sheikh Mansour for the first time.
Guardiola , who succeeded Manuel Pellegrini as City manager last year , said he was impressed by the Sheikh ’ s football knowledge – – but the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss was left in no doubt he will be replaced if results are not good enough .
“ I was really impressed that he knew absolutely everything about us , ” said Guardiola . “ It was nice to meet him and spend a few hours together .
“ He is so happy because he sees all the games and he sees the effort , he demands it. He knows we make absolutely everything , we fight until the end.
“ I had good relations with almost all my owners in Barcelona and Bayern Munich, of course it is important to know them.
“ They know , we know , all the managers and owners know that we are here because of the results . If the results are not good we are going to be replaced . I replaced another manager . ”