Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has doused suggestions he is contemplating retirement as he prepares to embark upon his maiden FA Cup clash against West Ham at the London Stadium on Friday.
Guardiola moved to clarify comments made last week in which he indicated he was pondering the end of his coaching career, which led to speculation that he had grown disillusioned with life in England.
But the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss insisted that he was misinterpreted and that he had no intention of calling time on his City tenure any time soon.
“I said in the interview that I am not going to be training when I’m 60 years old,” said Guardiola. “But guys, I am 45. I am not going to retire in two or three years. I love my job and I am in the perfect place to do my job.
“I do want to do something else in my life, but not in the next three, four, five, six, seven years. I said 60-65 I would not go to training, but I am not thinking I am going to retire.”
Guardiola has confirmed that back-up goalkeeper Willy Caballero is in contention for a recall in place of Claudio Bravo but he will resist the temptation to make wholesale changes.
“They are a Premier League team. We are away, it’s tough. I want to continue in the competition,” added the Spaniard. “From what I hear, the FA Cup is special because the low teams can beat the big teams. I’m looking forward to it.”
West Ham counterpart Slaven Bilic, meanwhile, has talked up the qualities of striking duo Jermain Defoe of Sunderland and Brentford’s Scott Hogan as he bids to pep up his misfiring forward line.
Bilic also confirmed that misfit attacker Simone Zaza has played his last game for the club as a clause in his loan deal would mean West Ham were committed to signing him for £20m if he played 14 matches.
The Hammers have already had a £6m bid for former striker Defoe rebuffed and are believed to be keeping close tabs on Hogan.
Bilic said: “All I would say is that Jermain Defoe is probably the main reason why Sunderland stayed up and in every game, even if he doesn’t score, he is making chances. As for Scott Hogan, he is an excellent player and again he’s scoring goals.”