Guardiola says no new striker for City due to COVID

LONDON (AFP) – Manchester City’s strikers will have to rediscover their scoring touch because reinforcements will not be signed in January, manager Pep Guardiola has said.

Guardiola explained that even with the backing of their Abu Dhabi owners, City were subject to the same financial pressures as their rivals due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

City have scored only twice in their last three league games but hope to welcome back Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus.

However, the League Cup holders’ record goalscorer Argentinian Sergio Aguero is sidelined by an undisclosed issue having had knee and illness problems already this season.

Asked about the prospect of new blood coming to the club, Guardiola replied, “No I don’t think so because the economic situation around the world is what it is.

“All the clubs struggle – we are not an exception.”

City are eight points adrift of champions Liverpool after 14 matches as they bid to reclaim the title Jurgen Klopp’s side took off them last season.

Guardiola said the lack of goals harms their chances of catching Liverpool but he hopes City will be more clinical against out-of-form Arsenal.

“We are creating clear chances that we cannot score and when this happens we are always going to suffer,” he said.

“That’s why I’m not able to say how we will be this season.”

Guardiola, though, can be thankful that despite the misfiring front line his defence have been in miserly form with seven clean sheets in their last eight matches in all competitions.

“It’s incredible – that is how we can still be there, knocking on the door of teams above us,” said Guardiola.

“We need it to be stable and maybe one day players will be fresh to score the goals.”