Pep Guardiola WILL be in charge for Manchester City’s trip to Newcastle following Covid-19 scare

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Pep Guardiola WILL be in charge for Manchester City’s trip to Newcastle following a negative PCR test after he was forced to cancel his pre-match press conference over Covid-19 scare

  • Pep Guardiola cancelled his Manchester City press conference on Friday 
  • City boss recorded an ‘inconclusive’ coronavirus test and had a second test
  • His PCR test has returned negative and he will be on the touchline for Newcastle
  • Guardiola had been in Barcelona for Sergio Aguero’s retirement announcement  



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Pep Guardiola had a scare on Friday – but will be in charge for ‘s trip to .

The defending champions are looking for an eighth consecutive Premier League victory – and will have their manager on the touchline after a chaotic day at the Etihad.

Guardiola, who had been in for Sergio Aguero’s retirement announcement on Wednesday, returned an inconclusive coronavirus test and cancelled his weekly media briefing.

Pep Guardiola has returned a negative Covid-19 test following an earlier coronavirus scare

Pep Guardiola has returned a negative Covid-19 test following an earlier coronavirus scare

Guardiola (centre) was in Barcelona for the retirement announcement of Sergio Aguero (L)

Guardiola (centre) was in Barcelona for the retirement announcement of Sergio Aguero (L)

The 50-year-old later recorded a negative PCR result, announced at 8pm, clearing him to take charge of the team at St James’ Park.

It was a chaotic day at the Etihad Stadium after the 50-year-old, kept away from the first-team bubble, cancelled his weekly media briefing.

Guardiola’s mother, Dolors Sala, died of the virus early in the pandemic and he has been a champion for society to make sure they take up vaccines. The Catalan has reiterated pleas to follow the science and ‘experts’ over the last 18 months.

Ahead of his side’s game with Newcastle has urged his side to maintain their impressive momentum. 

Pep Guardiola cancelled Man City's press conference after recording 'inconclusive' Covid test

Pep Guardiola cancelled Man City’s press conference after recording ‘inconclusive’ Covid test

He said: ‘Everyone is fit, it’s just Ferran (Torres) missing. Joao (Cancelo) is back after (his suspension against) Leeds and we will travel to Newcastle with everyone ready to play.

‘It is not easy to go to Newcastle and get a result so we will need the whole team and hopefully we will be strong enough to get the points.

‘Newcastle is a very tough opponent. People will talk about our place in the table or their place in the table but when you go to Newcastle you know what sort of game to expect.

‘Now they have a new manager in Eddie [Howe] and we know what a good manager he is.’

He added: ‘Newcastle in their stadium with their fans behind them, they will be ready and they have the quality to hurt us if we don’t play at our best.

Guardiola's mother, Dolors Sala (L) died of the virus early in the coronavirus pandemic

Guardiola’s mother, Dolors Sala (L) died of the virus early in the coronavirus pandemic

‘What is most important is the next game. And the next one and the next one.

‘We try not to look to much behind us because when you do that, you lose your focus. It is important not to look at our last result and think ‘we are there’.

‘We are playing well and getting results we want, but we have to continue this.

‘You need to score goals to win games, that is no secret. We have found a way to score goals from different places in different ways and Tuesday was a good example.’

At present, Sunday’s game is one of only five in the top flight still due to go ahead this weekend following a raft of postponements amid the latest rise in Covid-19 infection rates nationally.

The 50-year-old has been quite vocal on the need for, not only his players, but society in general to maintain high levels of caution.

Leaders Manchester City travel to Newcastle in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon

Leaders Manchester City travel to Newcastle in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon

‘I’m concerned – not because we are going to cancel or break the league but because in society the virus is here and people suffer,’ he said earlier this week.

‘Some people, staff here, have got it right now and we’ve spoken with the players almost every day and told them to be careful – stay safe, stay healthy, (wear) masks, social distance.’

The Premier League will hold ‘festive firebreak’ shutdown talks on Monday , with ‘a number of’ clubs lobbying for the season to stop despite bosses pushing on after postponing nine matches. Although the top flight appears to be split over the ‘firebreak’ shutdown .

City head into the weekend’s decimated round of fixtures with a one-point lead at the top of the table.  

Forward Ferran Torres is the only player not available for the Premier League champions

Forward Ferran Torres is the only player not available for the Premier League champions

HOW OMICRON COVID OUTBREAKS HAVE THE PREMIER LEAGUE ON EDGE

Aston Villa 

Forced to postpone Premier League clash with Burnley on December 18 just two hours before kick-off after an increased amount of positive Covid-19 test results within their playing squad. 

Brentford

The Bees have 13 cases among players and staff – the club are now calling for a circuit-breaker szhutdown to help clubs recover. Their training ground has been closed and as a result their trip to Southampton on Saturday has been postponed. 

Leicester

Would have been without several players for Tottenham’s visit on Thursday due to Covid before the game was postponed – despite initial calls being rejected – hours before kick-off.  Their training ground was closed on Thursday morning to contain the outbreak but given they have an insufficient number of players available, their weekend trip to Everton is also off.

Manchester United

Case numbers are currently unknown but a large outbreak saw their game with Brentford postponed. Calls to have Saturday’s game with Brighton to be postponed were accepted on Thursday, and it has emerged that United would have had only seven available players for that game such is the impact of the outbreak. Their training complex is closed until Tuesday at least, in order to reduce the risk of transmission.

Brighton

Had a request for Wednesday’s game with Wolves to be postponed rejected by the Premier League following an outbreak at the club. Graham Potter confirmed there were ‘three to four’ positive cases before the game, which they lost 1-0. Saturday’s game with Manchester United has now been postponed.

Norwich

Manager Dean Smith was facing an anxious wait to discover the full extent of the outbreak at the club. Josh Sargent, Lukas Rupp and Pierre Lees-Melou were absent from the squad that faced Aston Villa in midweek for ‘Covid-related’ reasons, but while Christos Tzolis is the only confirmed player to test positive, more positive test results have been returned. The Canaries had discussions with the Premier League over Saturday’s clash with West Ham and it was agreed to postpone as they have an insufficient number of players available. 

Watford

Saw their midweek game with Burnley postponed just hours before kick-off. With their training ground closed, their home match with Crystal Palace has now been confirmed as postponed too. Case numbers are currently unknown but they do not sufficient players to fulfil the Palace match.

Tottenham

Spurs were the first Premier League club to be hit by the Omicron variant last week and saw games against Brighton and Rennes postponed after cases reached double digits among players and staff. Those who tested positive for the virus are expected to return in the next couple of days after completing their 10-day self-isolation period. Spurs’ clash with Leicester on Thursday was postponed despite initial demands to have the game called off were rejected, but Sunday’s clash with Liverpool is due to go ahead.

Chelsea

After Brentford, the Blues became the latest club to be hit by a Covid outbreak, after it was confirmed ahead of their game with Everton that four more first-team players had tested positive. Mateo Kovacic was the first Chelsea player to get the virus in the outbreak this week, with Romelu Lukaku, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Timo Werner and Ben Chilwell following. Neverthless, their game with Everton went ahead and was drawn. They are due to play Wolves on Sunday.

Liverpool

It was confirmed just an hour before kick-off against Newcastle on Thursday night that Fabinho, Curtis Jones and Virgil van Dijk were all out having tested positive for Covid. They won the game 3-1 and are due to play Tottenham on Sunday. 

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