Pep Guardiola has thanked the Manchester City board for all their work in helping to secure the summer signing of Bernardo Silva.
The Portuguese midfielder emerged as one of European football’s most sought-after players last season during Monaco’s march to the French league title and semi-finals of the Champions League.
And the 22-year-old subsequently became the first of City’s summer signings, landing a five-year contract with the Club.
Having linked up with his new team-mates last week after being on international duty with Portugal earlier this summer, Bernardo made his City debut in last Friday’s 3-0 pre-season win over West Ham in Iceland, coming on as a second half substitute.
And as the build-up to Saturday’s Premier League opener away at Brighton continues, Guardiola revealed how grateful he was to the City board for their work in clinching the signing of Bernardo.
“I’m so grateful – thanks so much to the club for picking him up,” said the City manager. “Bernardo played his first minutes and he was immediately ready to play. Intelligent players don’t need time to be involved in the way we want to play.
“Bernardo is a guy who loves football, who lives 24 hours thinking about the game. I like that. He is a humble guy – he’s so intelligent, which is a huge quality. Close to the box he has the quality to score a lot of goals and he’s a fighter too so he’s going to help us during the season.”
And Guardiola revealed he was more than happy with the way City were shaping up ahead of the trip to face Chris Hughton’s newly-promoted side at the Amex Stadium – especially given the fact he has a fully-fit squad to choose from.
“I am so happy because they work well, and especially no injuries,” Guardiola added.
“I am so grateful to my physios to control the amount of work. We cancelled just one training session in the States because of the weather.
“We played good games against four amazing teams. It was a good test for us. We can play good and we can win games. We create always more than the opponent.
“In the last three games we have scored ten goals against top teams and conceded just one. The stability of the team has been good. We didn’t concede too much, we always created more than the opponents and that’s why we are quite satisfied but the reality starts now.
“We have to do that under pressure. We did it without pressure in friendlies and now we have to see how we react under pressure.”
The City manager also revealed that German midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, who has been out injured since last December, was close to making his eagerly-comeback, with the friendly fixture at Girona on August 15 being earmarked as a potential date for his return to first-team action.
“I think he’s close to coming back,” he said. “Maybe he’ll get minutes in Girona. I don’t know, we’re going to ask the doctor because, of course, he was injured for a long time.
“We don’t want to take any risks. He has to be strong but, of course, his quality is perfect for the way we want to play.
“He’s a guy who plays in the middle and can be a holding midfielder or play in front. In those terms, we’re so happy.”