Guardiola defends Manchester City youth record after Brahim Diaz's Real Madrid move

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Pep Guardiola has strenuously denied he ordered Manchester City's ground staff to let the grass grow longer ahead of last week's match against Liverpool.

De Bruyne, who had eight league goals and 16 assists for City last season, played for more than an hour against Rotherham and looked close to full fitness, driving forward from midfield to create a host of chances for his team.

The former Barcelona B manager believes there is a simple way to encourage Premier League managers to play more young players, and was scathing about the quality of the Premier League 2, the U23 competition.

"On the other side, again, congratulations for our academy, they are working so well and in the end this is what happens, important teams in Europe want to sign our players because it's working really well".

"Always we try to put water on the pitch, but it's not necessary here because of the weather".

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"Today he was fortunate [for the goal] he wants to control the ball and it touches his knee and goes in but his movement was incredible", Guardiola said. "If you want to stay it's because you want to stay".

As the English game begins to earn itself a reputation for letting its best talent leave without properly offering up decent first team opportunities, Guardiola said managers needed to have "more courage" in their younger players.

Rotherham's record defeat in this cup tournament was 6-0, but a new one was set by Sane who shoved off two defenders near the box before cutting onto his right foot to get a shot away, which deflected past a hapless Rodak.

"Real Madrid is not a bad step, and I wish him all the best".

"They don't compete really and that's why sometimes it's hard to put them [in the team]... that's why they train with us, sometimes they play in the cup, sometimes go on loan, to see how they develop in that position. I speak [about this] many times, on the pitch it speaks for itself". I have many issues to think about than that. "I never made a phone call to say "do this to damage our opponents".

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