Men's Team

Dedicated Dias on verge of return says Guardiola

Pep Guardiola says Ruben Dias is ready to play again, even if he may start by playing some, but not all of the 90 minutes.

The Portuguese defender could feature against Brighton - if the manager is happy - but the fact Dias has followed a strict recovery programme has made the recovery process a textbook exercise.

So much so, Guardiola says he expects Dias to seamlessly slip back into playing again.

“Ruben can perfectly handle the lack of time playing for seven weeks,” said Pep.

“He can handle it perfectly. The other ones need step-by-step minutes.

“I think for seven weeks he went to bed at 10pm up at 7am, lunchtime at 3pm every day.


“He was in the gym and the pool. That’s why in his mind he says he is OK.

“I would say it doesn't depends on the position (when he is ready), it depends on the player.”

Asked if Dias was capable of getting a full 90 minutes under his belt, the City boss felt that while it was possible, it is unlikely to be something he is happy to risk,

“Maybe. It depends on the game. Tomorrow against Brighton is so demanding," he said.

“Maybe not (to come on in) the last minutes, but he could start and play many minutes.”

Asked if there was the chance the Portuguese could break down with a recurrence of the injury, Pep added: “Maybe. The doctor said six-eight weeks to recover.

“Now it's seven. We are in this margin. It could happen, but he is training and feels much better.

“I don't know what’s going to happen. I don't have any doubts about Ruben and what is going to happen.

“He is 23 years old, so young. It is not  a problem. He is not a problem.”

Guardiola also revealed the astonishing number of knocks his players had picked up over the past fortnight.

After two demanding clashes with Liverpool, and two exhausting and physical battles with Atletico Madrid, the City players have been pushed to the limit,

It was also a major factor in the weekend team selection at Wembley.

“I don't know if it is normal, but (the medical team) came to tell me because it was more than usual," said Pep.

“More than normal. It was after the game at the hotel, in the morning, when they arrived in London at night, the morning of the training session, after the training session and the morning of the game.

“It wasn’t one or two like normal, it was a lot of players. I didn’t ask if it was normal. It wasn't just the Atletico game.

“We had Liverpool and Atletico before that. It was so demanding. We played Liverpool in the Premier League and it was so demanding.

“The players gave everything and then flew to Madrid. It is fatigue. It is normal. The schedule is what it is. 17 players is enough if fit but that was not the case.”