Benjamin Mendy seen in Manchester nightclub before Man City teammates beat Fulham
Pep Guardiola has reminded Benjamin Mendy of his responsibilities – after the defender was filmed in a nightclub in the early hours before training.
Mendy was caught on camera in Manchester’s Club Liv at 3.30am on Saturday, nine hours before his Manchester City team-mates kicked-off in their 2-0 win away at Fulham.
The £52million left-back, whose two seasons at City have been blighted by injuries, was in training later that day, but did not break any club curfew as he was not part of Guardiola’s matchday squad.
Guardiola admitted he would rather Mendy had not been out so late, but said he cannot control his players in such situations, insisting they should know themselves by now what is best for him.
“They are old enough to know what they have to do,” said Guardiola. “I’m not his father. I would prefer him to go home earlier, but I don’t control the players in that situation.
“I’m not frustrated. I’m a relaxed guy. It might not look like it, but I sleep quite well.”
Mendy’s City future was already in doubt, with concerns over his commitment to getting back to full fitness as quickly as possible, after just 11 appearances in another injury-ravaged campaign.
He turned up three hours late for treatment in Manchester last September, after watching Anthony Joshua’s world title boxing match against Alexander Povetkin at London's Wembley Stadium the previous night.
Guardiola had strong words with Mendy on that occasion and ongoing concerns over the France star’s focus and fitness have led the Blues to look for a new first-choice left-back this summer.
Mendy’s last appearance was as on January 23 a substitute in City’s 1-0 Carabao Cup semi-final second leg win at Burton, with the 24-year-old not yet considered fit enough to play.
Speaking prior to City's 2-0 victory in London, Guardiola revealed Mendy is in contention to return before the end of the season in what would be a huge boost to his side's title chances.
Mendy, who missed much of last term through a knee injury, has not started a to-flight game since the Manchester derby on November 11.
He has suffered several setbacks since, but his Spanish boss hopes to see him back in the first-team fold soon.
“If he has consistency - two months, three months, no injury - he will come back without a problem," the manager said. "But if he comes back, then comes back again three months later, then two weeks, then three months, no.
"Most important is a week's training, day-by-day, and if that happens with a good reaction in the knee, of course he will come back.
“I think the physicality is not a big problem. It's more what we want to do, what we're looking for, the spaces, the rhythm and the pace. Sometimes you need time when you don't play but I don’t have doubts. He knew he needed more in his knee.
"He’s a strong guy but he needs power to sustain his efforts. He’s getting better but he needs more time.
"He’s here in Manchester to play football and when he can’t play he’s a little bit sad. But the body needs time after two big injuries, the second one as well.
"We are optimistic he will help us between now and the end of the season.”
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