Pep Guardiola welcomes 'fantastic' Leicester into Premier League title race

Pep Guardiola defends persisting with Fernandinho in Manchester City defence

City was 10 points adrift from Liverpool last season before successfully pursuing them to win their third consecutive title and Laporte is still confident they can do it again, something Guardiola agrees with.

Pep Guardiola says he prefers Fernandinho playing at centre-back with Aymeric Laporte still out injured, discarding former first-choice pairing John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi.

The pair - who are now the club's only fit senior specialist central defenders - have not started together since a calamitous loss to Norwich in September.

City will make one enforced change with midfielder Ilkay Gundogan suspended after accumulating five bookings this season.

He even suggested that the 34-year-old may continue in to play in defence in the future.

The exchange began when a reporter asked why he hasn't been playing Stones and Otamendi together, to which he responded: "Because I like Dino [Fernandinho] in that position".

City manager Pep Guardiola yesterday admitted that Turf Moor would be "a hard place to go", warning his flagging side, who are 11 points behind leaders Liverpool who are on 40, to expect an aerial bombardment.

"I prefer Gundogan and Rodri in this position [midfield]".

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"They were better than the other ones, we played good, especially in the second half".

Speaking at a press conference to preview the trip to Turf Moor, Guardiola confirmed that the striker will also miss Saturday's clash against Manchester United.

"We have 26 shots against Newcastle and they scored two goals", Guardiola said.

The Argentine missed City's draw with Newcastle due to an injury sustained in City's 2-1 win over Chelsea.

Yet Guardiola is determined to fight on and recognises the importance of claiming victory against a tough Burnley side. "They have to believe to win tomorrow, the situation, we can't think too much of the people in front". That is the fact. "[We have to] try to be.the chances that we have and the few we concede, to be more solid in these departments and we will improve".

"In the situation we are we can not think about the people who are in front.

We have to think about what we need to do to win the games". "It is always hard for every team [to play against Burnley]", he added. We need to move forward and focus on our next games.

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