• Manuel Pellegini said he did not wish to talk about Pep Guardiola ‘rumour’
  • City boss said the speculation surrounding his future was ‘not a problem’
  • Pellegrini was also guarded on rumours Lionel Messi was a City target
  • He said: ‘Every manager in the world would like Lionel Messi’
  • David Silva will return to Manchester City squad against Southampton

Jack Gaughan For Mail Online

Manchester City’s consistent link with Pep Guardiola does not bother Manuel Pellegrini.

Talk about City moving for the Bayern Munich boss at the end of season has intensified over the last 24 hours, but Pellegrini insists it has had no impact on him.

Speaking for the first time since fresh reports linked Guardiola to his job last night, Pellegrini said: ‘I don’t talk about rumours. It’s not a problem for me.’

Manuel Pellegrini said he was not concerned about rumours that Pep Guardiola would take his job

Manuel Pellegrini said he was not concerned about rumours that Pep Guardiola would take his job

Spanish press have said that Bayern Munich manager Guardiola is set to take over at City next season

Spanish press have said that Bayern Munich manager Guardiola is set to take over at City next season

Asked about the speculation Pellegrini said: ‘I don’t talk abut rumours. It’s not a problem for me.’

David Silva will return to the City squad for Saturday's match against Southampton at the Etihad

David Silva will return to the City squad for Saturday’s match against Southampton at the Etihad

Silva (centre) has been missing since October and Pellegrini said his return would help City unlock defences

Silva (centre) has been missing since October and Pellegrini said his return would help City unlock defences

And Pellegrini would not commit to talking about Barcelona forward Messi, with whom the club have been linked with a mega-money switch for.

‘Every manager in the world would like Lionel Messi but I never talk about rumours,’ he added. 

David Silva has handed City a much-needed boost after a treacherous week by returning for the weekend’s game against Southampton.

The playmaker has been out for seven weeks, and while City’s performances have been consistent by and large, Silva has been a miss.

The Spaniard re-joins Pellegrini’s first team alongside striker Wilfried Bony on Saturday.

‘Silva is a very important player – the same as Aguero,’ Pellegrini said. ‘We play against teams who have seven or eight players around their box and David is important.

Wilfried Bony, who also returns to the squad after injury, arrives for training in Manchester on Friday

Wilfried Bony, who also returns to the squad after injury, arrives for training in Manchester on Friday

Goalkeeper Joe Hart (right) will be out for 10 days after suffering a hamstring strain against Juventus

Goalkeeper Joe Hart (right) will be out for 10 days after suffering a hamstring strain against Juventus

City will be looking to avoid a third straight defeat when they welcome the Saints to Manchester

City will be looking to avoid a third straight defeat when they welcome the Saints to Manchester

Sergio Aguero negotiates some cones during Manchester City's training session on Friday

Sergio Aguero negotiates some cones during Manchester City’s training session on Friday

‘Silva gives us a different way of playing. He’s the player with the most accurate passes in the final third.

‘We are always trying to find out why we have these injuries. One of the merits of the squad is we cope with lots of injuries.’

City will go top of the Premier League, for a few hours at least, should they end a run of three without a win and beat Ronald Koeman’s side at the Etihad on Saturday afternoon.

That comes before Manchester United’s trip to Leicester City later that day.

City were picked apart by Liverpool last weekend but Pellegrini sees two home games in the space of four days as an opportunity to kickstart their winter.

Kevin de Bruyne (right) smiles during training as the midfielder prepares to take on Southampton

Kevin de Bruyne (right) smiles during training as the midfielder prepares to take on Southampton

Nicolas Otamendi (left) and Silva (right) share a joke in Manchester City's Friday training session

Nicolas Otamendi (left) and Silva (right) share a joke in Manchester City’s Friday training session

‘It was not a good week for us. Against Juventus maybe we improved a little bit. But we’d already qualified for the next stage.

‘A lot of people were disappointed not to be at the top of the group but it is not finished. All you said it was a death group. We qualified two games before [the end].

‘It’s in the past – we have two games at home. You never know which team will beat another. Southampton are having a good season.’

Leicester top the Premier League and Pellegrini added: ‘If they are top after 13 games why can’t they continue? There is always a team which makes a surprise.’

The City manager also confirmed that goalkeeper Joe Hart would miss Saturday’s match, with Willy Caballero expected to fill in.

The England goalkeeper will be out for 10 days, as will right back Pablo Zabaleta who has a knee ligament injury.

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