Manchester City have suffered a huge injury blow ahead of their game against Newcastle United on Friday night with Kevin De Bruyne set to miss the match, which will no doubt concern Pep Guardiola as his side prepares for the Champions League final later this month.
However, Guardiola has now confirmed that the 29-year-old will also miss the game against Steve Bruce’s side on Friday night with a slight muscle issue, saying: “He is still injured but he’s getting better.
“When he is fit he will come to training and the guys who are completely fit with 100% mentally and physicality will have a chance to play in the final.”
Friday’s game is something of a dead rubber, with City having secured the Premier League title on Tuesday when closest rivals Manchester United lost at home to Leicester City, whilst Newcastle are now safe following Fulham and West Brom’s relegations. However, it is still a huge blow for the Citizens to lose the influential De Bruyne.
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Guardiola will no doubt be keen to utilise his whole squad in the coming Premier League fixtures to ensure that everyone has as much match fitness as possible ahead of the Champions League final against Chelsea, in which De Bruyne would surely be a guaranteed starter if he were fit.
The 29-year-old has been a key factor in City’s superb season thus far, contributing nine goals and 15 assists in all competitions, whilst his performances in the Premier League have earned him a 7.56 average rating from WhoScored, which is the best of any player in Guardiola’s squad.
This emphasises just how vital he is to Manchester City’s success, and after they lost in his absence against Chelsea last weekend, they could end up struggling once again against a resurgent Newcastle on Friday night.
Guardiola will be eager to avoid a poor run of results before the Champions League final in Portugal and must will be desperate to have the “brilliant” De Bruyne – as hailed by Frank Lampard – back to full fitness as soon as possible.