SportSoccer

Guardiola makes surprising clarification amid talk of a sex ban

Guardiola encouraging his players to have sex
Guardiola encouraging his players to have sex

Pep Guardiola has joked that his players will play better if they have more sex, as he moved to dismiss a story that he had put a curfew on his players sharing the love with their partners.

The Manchester City boss made the light-hearted claim in response to a suggestion from Samir Nasri that he had banned such intimate activity after midnight.

And not only has he dismissed the loaned-out Frenchman's comments, but he says he would even encourage more sex.

Guardiola said: "It's impossible to play good football if you don't make sex with your partner! I never did that (ban it) and I would never ban that. If you are doing it... better players!"

Nasri, who joined Sevilla in a season-long deal in August, appeared to have added to a growing list of things known to be off limits at City in an interview with L'Equipe du Soir earlier this week.

He said: "On a free day he says, 'Those who want to have relations, it's before midnight because you must have a good night's sleep'."

Had it been confirmed it might have been the most unlikely restriction yet. Since Guardiola took charge in the summer stories have emerged via players of pizza, fruit juice and wifi being banned or limited for the squad.

Guardiola was speaking at a press conference at which he also responded to claims from former England manager Glenn Hoddle that he is too nice to defender John Stones.

Stones received some criticism for his performance in England's World Cup qualifier against Scotland last week and Hoddle suggested Guardiola's determination to get him playing out from the back might be affecting him.

"It's almost like the over-indulgent father who never reprimands his son," Hoddle wrote in the Daily Mail.

But Guardiola said: "I agree with him, I'm so nice with him! So nice!

"With John, you cannot forget he's 20, 21 years old. In his career, he only played one game a week and now he plays three games a week in places like the Nou Camp against (Lionel) Messi.

"For the international team, he didn't play one minute at the European Championship, now he plays 90 minutes, 90 minutes, 90 minutes.

"It's so nice, my job, to help him develop, to not discriminate in how he wants to play, to help him be more aggressive, how he has to drive to the ball, how he has to pass quicker.

"He has to make a lot of mistakes and I will do it in the nicest way possible, for sure.

"He's always available to help the team and the way he plays is special, strong in the air, defensively has good qualities.

"He is not afraid to play. That's why I think Manchester City are lucky to have this player."

Guardiola also allayed fears over the fitness of captain Vincent Kompany after he withdrew from action with Belgium as a precaution.

The 30-year-old is being very cautious as he eases back into action from the most recent of a long line of injuries and has also sat out City's last three games.

Guardiola said: "He came back, he is training good. We are working on him being free in his mind, the muscular issue is much better. He is close to helping us and we are working on recovering the best Vincent as possible."