Stones nearing Man City return but Guardiola rules De Bruyne out of Wolves game

Oleh Jamie Smith 4 Oktober 2019 30
Stones nearing Man City return but Guardiola rules De Bruyne out of Wolves game

Kevin De Bruyne has been ruled out of Sunday's Premier League game against Wolves but Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola expects the playmaker and John Stones to return after the international break.

De Bruyne missed the Champions League defeat of Dinamo Zagreb in midweek with a groin injury sustained in City's previous game, a Premier League win against Everton.

Guardiola indicated after the Dinamo victory he was considering whether he could "risk" De Bruyne after City lost at Norwich City when the playmaker was named a substitute last month.

But, speaking ahead of Wolves' visit to the Etihad Stadium, Guardiola confirmed De Bruyne would not be available though he does not expect the midfielder to be out for long.

"Tomorrow he is not fit," Guardiola told reporters of De Bruyne, who is not in Belgium's squad.

"Sometimes he's not playing, one game at Norwich, sometimes substitute, when he feels good, he's good.

"After the international break he will be ready."

Stones has been out since mid-September, joining Aymeric Laporte on the sidelines and leaving City with Nicolas Otamendi as their only fit specialist senior centre-back after club captain Vincent Kompany's departure.

"Hopefully after the international break he'll be back," Guardiola added of the England international.

Fernandinho has filled in with Stones and Laporte both unavailable and Guardiola is not concerned about the 34-year-old's fitness levels.

"He didn't have many minutes in his legs before these games," Guardiola said. 

"Except the last part of last season he's played every three days over 11 months, I think he can do it."

Wolves have only beaten bottom side Watford in the Premier League this season but head to Manchester on the back of a last-gasp Europa League win at Turkish giants Besiktas on Thursday.

Balancing domestic and European commitments has proven difficult for Wolves but Guardiola backed Nuno Espirito Santo's side to get to grips with that challenge.

"Nuno knows how to handle it," Guardiola said. "Yesterday they made an incredible result, so solid, what I expected.

"I think they have a big squad and they know what they have to do. Three or four seasons together with the same manager and their structure in defence is really impressive."

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