Football: Everton one of the best in the league, says Man City's Guardiola

Everton's English striker Wayne Rooney (centre) and teammates celebrate a goal.
Everton's English striker Wayne Rooney (centre) and teammates celebrate a goal.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (REUTERS) - Everton are one of the best teams in the Premier League with excellent players and Manchester City will likely face a tough test when they host the Merseyside club on Monday, City manager Pep Guardiola said on Friday (Aug 18).

City drew 1-1 at home with Everton last season and the reverse fixture in January marked Guardiola's heaviest league loss as a manager, with his side losing 4-0 at Goodison Park.

With Everton bolstering their squad with nine new signings, Guardiola is wary of the all-round threat provided by manager Ronald Koeman's side.

"Everton are a top squad and they have bought good players. They are one of the best teams in the league, I am sure of that," Guardiola told reporters.

"I expect they will play the same way (as last season), attack our backs," Guardiola said.

"They have a strong defence, they have excellent players."

City have already spent more than £200 million (S$350 million) to strengthen their ranks and British media reports have also linked the club with a move for West Bromwich Albion defender Jonny Evans.

Earlier on Friday, West Brom manager Tony Pulis confirmed his club had rejected a bid for their captain, but Guardiola said the situation at City had not changed, choosing to focus on his team's broad transfer goals instead.

"We tried to do the best as possible for the new season, and we are going to see how the market finishes at the end of the season," Guardiola told reporters.

"We stay with the players we have right now, if someone comes we will be happy too.

"I know how hard the club works... We talk with Txiki, but everyone has his own opinions and after that we try to decide who should make our club stronger," he said, referring to City's Director of Football Txiki Begiristain.

Guardiola said defender Benjamin Mendy and midfielder Fabian Delph were yet to recover from injury, while midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, who featured in the club's friendly against Girona on Tuesday, was close to full match fitness.