MANCHESTER — Pep Guardiola will speak to his Manchester City players to see if they are happy before deciding on his January transfer business.
City are in the middle of an 18-game winning streak, with Guardiola using a core of his first-team squad while other players such as Ilkay Gundogan, Eliaquim Mangala, Claudio Bravo and Yaya Toure have not made any Premier League starts this season.
Guardiola has hinted that he may look to strengthen his squad in the transfer window and the Catalan doesn’t want anyone at the club who doesn’t want to be there.
“In the winter break and the window in the summer time, we are going to [assess] everything and if they are happy or not,” he told a news conference ahead of City’s clash with Southampton on Wednesday night.
“If they are comfortable being in the position they had in the past — playing or not playing — they have to decide because the future will be like this. Always we want players that want to stay here.”
City maintained their eight-point lead at the top with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Huddersfield Town on Sunday.
They had to wait until the 84th minute before Raheem Sterling’s winner in a game they dominated with 80 percent possession.
Guardiola was delighted with how his side stayed patient and stuck to their passing principles, particularly ahead of the game against Southampton, who held out for a point at the Etihad last season.
“That’s good. There is no panic. And in the last 15 minutes when we changed Vincent Kompany for Gabriel Jesus, it sends a message to the team that we still want to win,” he said.
“We believe in what we want to do. It happened because last season we were working on that as well. The results help a lot for the mentality of the team to believe a little bit more. Winning games in a row helps us believe in what we want to do.”
Guardiola will have a full squad to choose from tomorrow with the exception of injured duo Benjamin Mendy and John Stones.
But he faces a dilemma on whether to select Kompany, who has only just returned from a calf strain, or select Mangala — who has not started a Premier League game since May 2016.
“I am really impressed with his behaviour in training. He hasn’t played regularly until now and he always accepts it,” Guardiola said of the French defender.
“He has his specific qualities and that is so important in the league sometimes. We’re going to use him when we believe we need him.”
Jonathan is ESPN FC’s Manchester City correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @jonnysmiffy.