Guardiola admits Otamendi is unsettled due to lack of play time
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has admitted that Argentine centre-back Nicolas Otamendi is unsettled at the club due to lack of regular minutes.
The 30-year-old has had to compete with the likes of Vincent Kompany, Aymeric Laporte and John Stones for a place at the heart of the defence, with Guardiola favouring the partnership of previous club-record signing Laporte and Englishman Stones at the back.
Otamendi has only started 8 games in the Premier League this season, being forced to take a place on the bench for 13 games and the Argentine international is clearly unhappy with his playtime.
Despite City competing on four fronts this season, Guardiola has conceded to the fact that it is difficult to keep the players happy, although Otamendi is in line to face Burton Albion in the Carabao Cup semi-final.
“He’s not happy – I don’t have an answer,” Guardiola told reporters at a news conference.
“When he plays he’s happy, when he doesn’t he’s not happy. I don’t know what I can do. When he doesn’t play he’s not happy.
“He could play every week, he can play and I know he’s there. He can help us in the build-up, I’ve got three central defenders and Vinny [Kompany] as well. He played [against] Southampton and was excellent, sometimes I have to decide one or the other.
“John came back well after the World Cup, he wants to play a lot of games. Nico – I know we can count on him, an incredible professional and always he’s ready. I can understand it.”
When asked if Otamendi is prepared to leave the club to look for greener pastures, Guardiola suggested it is a problem director of football Txiki Begiristain may have to handle.
“It depends on the players, I don’t want sad players here,” he added. “If you are not happy you knock on Txiki’s door.
“At the end of the season, they have to reflect. If they don’t play and are not happy they have to move. I know they are able to do it and I don’t have any complaints about that.
“You see the schedule, the games everyone plays. Except for the last game, [Fabian] Delph three games suspended, the others play, there’s not one guy with more than two or three games with not playing.
“There is not one who is not playing games and it didn’t happen. Selection is the hardest part, I am honest, in my job, you look at what happens, some need extra games for the confidence, it’s many reasons, not just being naive selection.”