Bravo! Here's why he's Pep's man

Claudio Bravo pulling off a save for Chile during the Copa America Centenario final in June. "He has experience, anticipates situations not in the box, in front of the box, good in the build-up plays, quick under the posts," said Manchester City mana
Claudio Bravo pulling off a save for Chile during the Copa America Centenario final in June. "He has experience, anticipates situations not in the box, in front of the box, good in the build-up plays, quick under the posts," said Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola of his new acquisition.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

City boss waxes lyrical about new goalie, although Chilean will sit out West Ham game

MANCHESTER • Claudio Bravo must wait to make his Manchester City debut as he prepares to watch his new club's English Premier League home game with West Ham United today from the stands at the Etihad Stadium.

The Chilean goalkeeper has completed the formalities over his reported £17 million (S$30 million) move to the Premier League, but his lack of training with his new team means manager Pep Guardiola has not considered him for a starting place.

That will almost certainly mean more frustration for unwanted England goalkeeper Joe Hart, who has been told he can leave the club, with Willy Caballero poised to keep his starting place, as he has done in the opening two league games under Guardiola.

"He's fit but he's not going to play this weekend," said Guardiola of Bravo.

Guardiola, who will be seeking to make it five wins from five competitive games with City, said Bravo fitted the bill for him as a goalkeeper and added that Chilean players have, as a rule, flourished under his guidance.

"He has experience, anticipates situations not in the box, in front of the box, good in the build-up plays, quick under the posts. He is a good player for us," said Guardiola.

"I was lucky to have under my command Chilean players like Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal before, and now Claudio Bravo. I spoke to Claudio and he's going to be a good player for us.

"And with the goalkeeper with more than 100 caps for the national team and a team that can compete with Argentina or Brazil, he's a really good asset for us."

Guardiola has almost a fully fit squad from which to choose, with 30 players having taken part in training on Friday.

His only absentee is teenage striker Kelechi Iheanacho, who suffered a minor hamstring problem in the midweek win over Steaua Bucharest that will sideline him for two weeks.

One area where Guardiola wants his players to pay more attention is in being mindful of the new rules over shirt-pulling in the penalty area.

"The referees came here and spoke to the players about the new rules so they know that," he said.

"But we are going to speak to the players again. I don't know what is going on, if it is happening more often, more times than it did."

It is also understood that he has shelved plans to sign another centre-back, with Vincent Kompany appearing to have convinced his manager that he can be a key part of the club's plans this season.

Kompany is making good progress in his recovery from the groin and thigh injuries he suffered in the Champions League semi-final second leg against Real Madrid in May.

The Belgian's rehabilitation is on schedule and he is expected to challenge for a place against Manchester United in two weeks.

City's opponents West Ham head north, still smarting from their premature exit from the Europa League at the hands of Astra Giurgiu.

A repeat of last season's victory at the Etihad Stadium will provide a timely lift, as will the arrival of Juventus striker Simone Zaza.

"It is a boost," manager Slaven Bilic said of Zaza.

"It was our plan for a long time now to get a top-quality striker and there were a few of them on our list, and Zaza was always mentioned there."

Bilic also expects Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini to be close to full fitness but will not risk both playmakers.

"Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini, maybe one of them will be in the squad for Sunday's game," said Bilic.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE TIMES, LONDON

MANCHESTER CITY V WEST HAM

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 28, 2016, with the headline 'Bravo! Here's why he's Pep's man'. Print Edition | Subscribe