Pep Guardiola has revealed that Jack Grealish, Mateo Kovacic and John Stones will all be absent for our opening Champions League group game against Red Star Belgrade on Tuesday.

We face the Serbian SuperLiga champions in an 20:00 (UK) kick-off at the Etihad Stadium as we begin the defence of the trophy we won in Istanbul three months ago.

We’re in Group G alongside Red Star, Young Boys and RB Leipzig for the 2023/24 competition.

Grealish has been absent for the past two games against Fulham and West Ham while Stones has not been involved since the Community Shield clash with Arsenal, missing the past six matches.

Kovacic didn’t play in either of Croatia’s international matches against Latvia and Armenia during the break and didn’t feature in our 3-1 London Stadium win this past weekend either.

The influential trio won’t make it in time for the UCL clash tomorrow, according to the boss but he’s hopeful they’ll be back sooner rather than later.

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He said: “I think they are getting better, they are not for tomorrow.

“Hopefully for Nottingham or next coming games because we need it because we have not a long squad in that moment. But it’s what it is.

“Look how we prove without them in the last games. Hopefully they’ll be back soon because we need the competition.

“We need, you know, Jack to compete with Jeremy Doku and how important it is both feeling [they have] to play good to maintain and be in the squad. Otherwise it is difficult to sustain for a long time.

“That’s what it is and many things happen and yes we accept it.”