Men's Team

Guardiola confirms defensive trio out for the season

THE BOSS: Watches on.
Pep Guardiola has confirmed Ruben Dias, John Stones and Kyle Walker will miss Manchester City’s final three games with injury.

Dias, who was out for seven weeks earlier in the campaign with a hamstring injury, was forced off with another muscular problem as City bounced back from our Champions League semi-final defeat with an emphatic victory over Newcastle United to move three points clear at the top of the Premier League.

He joins Stones and Walker on the injury list, who have been ruled out after picking up knocks in our European tie against Real Madrid.

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Stones was withdrawn early in the first leg and has not played since, whilst Walker limped off as City exited the competition at the Santiago Bernabeu and Guardiola will now have to do without all three defenders during the title run-in.

“Ruben, Kyle and John are out until the end of the season,” he said following our victory over Newcastle.

“Next pre-season maybe they will be ready.

“[Ruben’s problem is] muscular. Not the same position, but hamstring.”

With Nathan Ake also carrying a knock, it may mean Guardiola will only have three fully fit defenders available for the trip to Wolves on Wednesday.

The Dutchman was an unused substitute against Newcastle, but the boss admitted he is suffering with an ankle problem and says it is doubtful he will be ready to face Bruno Lage’s men at Molineux.

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“He has had a problem in his ankle for a long time,” Guardiola explained.

“It happened in the game against Leeds. Still, he has a little niggle and doesn’t feel comfortable.

“Maybe not [ready] for Wolves, but maybe for the next two. We have Joao [Cancelo], Oleks [Zinchenko] and Aymeric [Laporte].”

Fernandinho replaced Dias at half-time as City cruised to victory against Eddie Howe’s men, returning to the centre-half position he excelled in two seasons ago when Aymeric Laporte was ruled out with a long-term knee injury.

Guardiola was impressed with how the Brazilian managed the threat of Magpies’ striker Callum Wilson and says he is again going to be a significant figure in City’s back four.

“I would say a lot,” replied the boss when asked how important the Club captain will be.

“Otherwise we have to play CJ [Egan-Riley] or Luke Mbete. We arrive with a problem. In this situation it is not a problem.

“If Rodri has to play in that position, it is not a problem, or if we have to play someone from the Academy.  We have 13 players available for these games. No more than that, plus Academy. 

“When we do that, everyone has to do more to help our absences and the problem we have.

“It is what it is. We arrive with problems. Today we had three defenders in the second half.

Fernandinho played well against Callum Wilson. That’s what we have to do.”

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