Manchester City suffer serious injury setback ahead of Manchester derby
Manchester City dealt a huge injury blow ahead of the Manchester derby.
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has revealed that key defender John Stones will not participate in Saturday’s derby against Manchester United.
Despite recent victories over Chelsea in the FA Cup and the Premier League, City is still aiming to rebound from one of their worst performances under Guardiola, when they were eliminated by Southampton in the Carabao Cup in midweek.
The defending Premier League champions have been in a rut since the beginning of November, losing points to Brentford and Everton while also losing Ruben Dias at the back, which has caused them to fall behind Arsenal in the developing title fight.
Stones’ departure increases the pressure on an immensely improved Manchester United.
“[Stones] is not ready. I think everyone else is fit,” Guardiola said on Friday.
Stones has been an important player for City this season, starting almost every Premier League game when fit.
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Guardiola appeared to hint City were not sufficiently prepared to face Southampton, while Ilkay Gundogan questioned the desire and the hunger in the squad following the defeat.
The City boss insists he is not concerned about any lingering hangover from that one.
“Normal preparation for a game,” he said.
“City fans cannot complain what this team is able to do, have done, do and will do. We cannot talk on behalf of the fans, they are brilliant. I know what they think.
“What happened didn’t surprise me, it happened. It happens because we do four Premier League titles in five years. Sometimes this competition shows me in terms of consistency what we have to do. This is our strength in previous seasons.
“After back-to-back [titles] two times, this could happen. We are not ready to go there and be ourselves. Not talking about winning the Carabao Cup or winning games, be ourselves. I was a little concerned it could happen, I don’t know if it will happen again.”