City squad choose family over training for Premier League break

Manchester City

Pep Guardiola's Manchester City team have elected next month to go on holiday with their families rather than attend a sunshine training camp in Abu Dhabi.

It is understood the Manchester City boss left it up to his players as to what they wanted to do during their February mid-winter break, which extends to 13 days in total.

Guardiola felt it was important his squad had a major say after a gruelling fixture list stretching back to the beginning of November.

The Citizens seemingly have one foot again in the Carabao Cup final, following last week’s convincing 3-1 first-leg semi-final victory over rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Guardiola has been very outspoken over the lack of recovery time his outfit were afforded over the recent Christmas period, with less than 40 hours between their loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers and bouncing back at home to Sheffield United.

The reigning Premier League champions are currently second in the table, a massive 14 points behind leaders Liverpool, who have also played a game less.

That could see the Manchester giants shift more of their focus towards the Champions League, with a glamour tie to come at the end of February against Real Madrid in the round of 16.

Guardiola was ready to set up warm-weather training in the United Arab Emirates – something City have done in the last two years – when the schedule has allowed for it.

Meanwhile, former City defender Micah Richards has paid tribute to striker Sergio Aguero, admitting he did not think the predatory striker was “anything special” when he was signed from Atletico Madrid back in 2011.

The Argentina international entered the record books following his latest hat-trick on Sunday in the 6-1 win against Aston Villa – becoming the most prolific overseas player in Premier League history on 178 goals – overtaking former Arsenal legend Thierry Henry in the process.

Richards, who now works as a pundit for Sky Sports and BT, said: “If I am being totally honest, I was wondering what all the hype was about (when City signed Aguero).

“I did not realise just how good he really was until he played his first game for us. He came alive in matches, and everything about him was different.”