Guardiola vows to give youth a chance as Man City can't afford January signings

Pep Guardiola Manchester City 2019-20
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The Premier League champions have just one natural centre-back available but they will not be looking for a new addition in the next transfer window

Pep Guardiola has promised Manchester City's academy players that they will be given a chance in the first-team because the club will not sign new players in January.

The reigning Premier League champions were hit with a blow to their defensive depth after centre-backs Aymeric Laporte and John Stones suffered injuries this season.

Stones is expected to be out until late-October after picking up a thigh injury recently, while Laporte is not expected back until February, having undergone surgery on a knee problem.

Those injuries, coupled with Vincent Kompany's summer departure, leaves City with just one recognised centre-back available, forcing Guardiola to employ defensive midfielder Fernandinho in the back line.

While Guardiola admitted in midweek that the selection problems leave him with "an incredible challenge" to balance his defence.

And the 48-year-old has reiterated that the club will not be splashing out on a big signing in the next transfer window to help make the coach's life easier, insisting he will have to work with what he has.

"That is not my business but in January we are not going to buy because we don't have money to pay a huge amount in the summer so we cannot do it in winter," the coach said on Sky Sports.

"We are going to stick to the players we have, with [Taylor] Harwood-Bellis and Eric [Garcia] and with the new players in the academy. We have young, talented players and we can count on them.

"Vinny [Kompany] was an incredibly personality and he was incredibly helpful to me and the whole club, but he decided to go to Anderlecht and we have to move forward. That is what it is and so far, it has been perfect."

Manchester City Celebrating 2019

Guardiola's team have slipped up twice in the Premier League this season, having drawn with Tottenham in their second match of the campaign and then lost 3-2 to Norwich two weeks ago.

City bounced back from the latter by beating Watford 8-0 at the Etihad Stadium last week to remain in second place behind current leaders Liverpool.

And Guardiola was delighted with the way his side were able to get back to winning ways, but says he is more concerned with their performances than the scoreline.

"[The reaction] is good, but we knew our game at Norwich wasn't so bad," Guardiola said.

"Sometimes in football, you lose games but the reaction was similar to the reaction in the last years, it was good.

"Winning 8-0 is exceptional, so it's not normal. It was a weird game and you don't have to take it like it's what we are or what we expect.

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"Five goals with the first five shots on target is not normal, it happens once a season. It happened last season against Chelsea at home [6-0 win] so we learn from every game and try to do it better.

"I know for some people, the result is all that matters. It usually matters because you can have a job for the next season, that's why the results are important but what makes me realise who we are and where we are going for the future is the way we play.

"From the beginning of my career, I'm always concerned with the way we played. That will give us confidence to be strong as a team."