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Pep Guardiola Says Nicolas Otamendi ‘Not Happy’ with Lack of Game Time | Bleacher Report

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Nicolas Otamendi is “not happy” with his lack of Manchester City game time in 2018-19, according to manager Pep Guardiola

The Argentinian has started only 11 times in the Premier League and UEFA Champions League so far this term, compared with a combined 41 starts in the same competitions in 2017-18.

It is quite clear he is no longer first choice at centre-back, with John Stones and Aymeric Laporte Guardiola‘s go-to pairing in the centre of defence. Vincent Kompany is also a competitor when he is fit.

Guardiola said he knows he can still rely on Otamendi, but he admitted the 30-year-old is not best pleased with his diminished role in the side this season, per Sky Sports News:

He’s not happy. I don’t have an answer. When he plays he’s happy, when he doesn’t play he’s not happy. But it’s not just Otamendi, [it’s] everybody. All of them. I don’t know what I can do but be honest with myself and with them. 

Of course when he doesn’t play he’s not happy. In the end with Nico, I know we can count on him at any time in any situation because he’s an incredible professional and always he’s ready. I’m delighted with him. But I can understand him [wanting to play more]. I cannot say anything else.

HUDDERSFIELD, ENGLAND - JANUARY 20: Manchester City manager Josep Guardiola looks on during the Premier League match between Huddersfield Town and Manchester City at John Smith's Stadium on January 20, 2019 in Huddersfield, United Kingdom. (Photo by Chris

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Otamendi did start in City’s Premier League clash against Huddersfield Town on Sunday, which they won 3-0. 

But previous to that he had started just one of City’s last five games in the English top flight, when he was taken off after 50 minutes in the 3-2 defeat of Crystal Palace on December 22.

The former Valencia defender also played 90 minutes in recent cup games against Burton Albion and Rotherham.

But that is, more often than not, an indication of being down the pecking order, as most top clubs rotate their squads when they are not competing in the league or Champions League.

As such, Otamendi could well be back in action soon as City face Burton again in the League Cup semi-final second leg on Wednesday, before Saturday’s FA Cup fourth-round clash against Burnley.

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