Fabian Delph has expressed his desire to stay on at Manchester City for a third season, despite enduring a difficult two years at the club that have seen him languish on the bench.
The 27-year-old made his first start of the 2016/17 season on Wednesday night as City succumbed to a 2-1 defeat at Chelsea, taking his tally of league appearances under Pep Guardiola to just six.
Sine controversially joining City in July 2015 for £8m, Delph has now featured in a total of 23 Premier League games with both injury and competition keeping him of the club's starting XI.
Chelsea vs Manchester City player ratings
Chelsea vs Manchester City player ratings
1/22 Thibaut Courtois - 6
Completely at fault for Aguero's equaliser - a rare lapse in concentration. Showed his strengths moments later though to deny Sane a one-on-one chance on goal.
2/22 Cesar Azpilicueta - 6
Decision making was on point for much of the evening and kept a calm head under pressure.
3/22 Kurt Zouma - 7
A respectable return to the starting line-up. After months on the sideline he seemed to cope well with both the pace and intensity of the game.
4/22 David Luiz - 7
A fierce and fiery performance from the Brazilian. Hit hard in his challenges and dealt with Aguero well.
5/22 Gary Cahill - 6
Solid as ever in his reading of the game and challenges, both on the deck and in the air.
6/22 Marcos Alonso - 6
Handled his defensive duties well and proved effective on the front foot.
7/22 N'Golo Kante - 6
Industrious as ever with his running and positioning but one of his more quiet evenings. Conceded a sloppy foul on the edge of his own box which City nearly equalised from.
8/22 Cesc Fabregas - 6
Kept the ball moving well in the middle and was relatively effective in dictating the flow of the game.
9/22 Pedro - 7
Dealt well with his defensive responsibilities tonight and got well forward to put the City defence under pressure. Questionable touches/passes here and there but overall a good night from him.
10/22 Eden Hazard - 8
Once again, Hazard proved to be the difference. Took his first goal well from a difficult angle and reacted well in his penalty attempt to grab Chelsea's second.
11/22 Diego Costa - 6
Another mixed performance. Menaced the City backline with his physical presence but his hold-up play was found wanting at times. It ultimately fell to others to make the difference tonight.
12/22 Willy Caballero - 6
Completely misjudged Hazard’s first goal. Despite taking an unfortunate deflection off Kompany, he should have done better in dealing with the strike. To his credit, he saved Hazard’s initial penalty kick but couldn’t stop the forward from following up.
13/22 Fernandinho - 5
His reckless challenge on Pedro cost City dearly and handed the home side their second goal. Too hot-headed.
14/22 John Stones - 6
Dominated in his aerial battles but struggled to deal with Hazard’s pace and quick feet. Had a glorious chance to equalise in the second half but couldn’t find the goal.
15/22 Vincent Kompany - 5
For all his fight and heart, there was a certain sharpness missing to his game tonight. His weak positioning afforded Hazard the space for his first goal while his lack of pace saw him struggle to keep up with the tempo of the game at times.
16/22 Gael Clichy - 6
Linked up with City's forward players well and was a nuisance in getting in behind the Blues defence.
17/22 Fabian Delph - 5
A series of early, well-timed challenges boded well but he looked out of depth at times. Not a surprise given his lack of Premier League football this season.
18/22 Jesus Navas - 5
A quiet evening as a whole. Had very little say for himself.
19/22 Kevin de Bruyne - 6
Sloppy passing in the centre of park let team-mates down on occasion. Kept him self busy nonetheless and wasn’t afraid to take on his opposite men.
20/22 David Silva - 7
One of City’s more effective players - especially in the first half. His slick passing and clever link-up play kept the visitors’ midfield ticking over. Created numerous chances too and found himself well positioned to set up City’s equaliser. Couldn't find that all important equaliser though.
21/22 Leroy Sane - 6
Had the chance to put City ahead after Aguero’s equaliser in the first half. Flashed with brilliance but couldn't sustain such form throughout the night.
22/22 Sergio Aguero - 6
A classic poachers finish for City's goal. Certainly kept the Chelsea backline busy but it wasn't to be his night.
As Guardiola prepares to overhaul his ageing squad this summer, the midfielder has been linked with a return to Leeds United where he made his senior professional debut.
But after an encouraging display at Stamford Bridge, Delph has made it clear he wishes to stay on at City.
When asked if he hopes to remain at the club next season, the midfielder replied: “Yes, of course.
“I’m working with the best management team in the world, as far as I’m concerned, the best players in the world, we’ve got great chemistry, a lot of the boys we’re very close and of course I’d love to be a part of that.
“We’ll have to see what happens at the end of the season.”
Guardiola, whose team remain in fourth following Wednesday’s defeat, admitted after the game that he has been wrong to overlook Delph this season.
“Congratulations to Fabian Delph,” he said. “He showed me how wrong I was not to put him on the field. He never complains.”
Following what has been a disappointing season for both himself and Manchester City, the midfielder argued that the club has undergone an important learning curve.
“We’ve gone through the first year, we’ve learnt a lot,” he continued. “I certainly look at football a lot differently. So hopefully the boys can pick themselves up, can see the season through, win the FA Cup, finish in the top four, and come back ready to go again.”
As for the rest of the season, Delph has set his side the target of seeing out their remaining games unbeaten.
“I’d like the team go unbeaten until the end of the season,” he added.
“We’ve got to pick ourselves up, we can hold our heads high after the performance tonight. I thought we were the better team… I think we’ve deserved a lot better.
“And going forward we’ve got to just take each game as it comes. We’ve got the FA Cup, and we’ve got quite a few more Premier League games.
“We like to take the positives out of it but obviously it’s frustrating [losing to Chelsea]. Nobody likes losing. But we’ve got to pick ourselves up and hopefully get the win against Hull.”Reuse content