Pep Guardiola has revealed he’s ‘not optimistic’ of any injured players returning to the squad for the RB Leipzig game on Tuesday.

We take on Leipzig in an 20:00 (UK) kick-off knowing that a win or draw would ensure progress through to the knockout phase of the Champions League as the seeded team from Group G.

Playmaker Grealish was absent from Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Liverpool due to illness.

There were two other key absentees from the heavyweight encounter with the Reds. Mateo Kovacic was not fully fit while Matheus Nunes was injured.

Guardiola is not confident of being able to call on them for this latest Group G encounter.

“I’m not much optimistic about some good news for some people to come back,” said the boss as he spoke to the media pre-game at the CFA.

“We’ll see this afternoon. I think it’ll be the same people that played against Liverpool.

“We have training now but we’ll see this afternoon. We’ll do the second day of recovery. We won’t think to do anything.”

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John Stones was on the bench for the weekend draw with Liverpool.

The boss said after the game that he was being patient with the recovery of the classy England international.


But he’s hopeful of being able to call on the defender-cum-midfielder soon and stressed today that his potential return to the starting XI is ‘incredibly good news.’

“He’s getting better,” added the manager.

“Not to play but maybe a few minutes, maybe for the next one. He’s really, really close to coming back. It’s incredibly good news for us.”

Kevin De Bruyne, meanwhile, has been absent since coming off early on in the opening day top-flight victory at Burnley.

The silky-smooth Belgian midfielder was interviewed at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and said he was hopeful of being back in the very early part of 2024 if his rehabilitation continues to go well.

Quizzed about these comments, Guardiola added: “I’d love to have him all season but he has had a tough injury and surgery so he has had to recover well.

“End of December or Happy New Year will be a Happy New Year for everyone.”