Pep Guardiola returns negative Covid test to give Man City a Christmas boost

Pep Guardiola has returned a negative Covid test and will be back on the Manchester City training ground tomorrow.

The club hed its breath when the manager had an “inconclusive” lateral flow test this morning which forced him to postpone the weekly Friday press conference which should have taken place at 12.30pm.

Under new stringent Premier League rules, all players and playing staff have to be tested in their cars as they enter training grounds, and Guardiola fell foul of that regimen today.

The manager was kept away from the training ground and given the more reliable PCR test this afternoon, but the test came back negative, and that was backed up by a further negative lateral flow test.

Provisions were made for assistants Juanma Lillo and Rodolfo Borrell to take charge of the City squad for the trip to Newcastle ahead of Sunday’s game, with Guardiola facing ten days of self-isolation with a positive test.

That would have meant he missed Sunday’s game against Newcastle, the Blues’ training sessions for the whole of next week and the Boxing Day game with Leicester.

But he will now be back in charge of training tomorrow, before the Blues head to the northeast, seeking the win that would ensure they are top of the tree for Christmas.

Covid has bitten hard this week with six Premier League games and 24 Football League matches called off due to positive tests as the omicron variant spreads rapidly across the country.

Guardiolla, who lost his mother to the virus in the summer of 2020, has been an outspoken advocate of measures to contain the pandemic and has urged his own players to get vaccinated, although making it plain it would be their own choice.

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