Pep Guardiola provides update on Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne’s return to Manchester City starting lineup

In 2023, Manchester City made history by clinching the FIFA Club World Cup in Saudi Arabia. They secured their place as the only English club to triumph in the Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, and Club World Cup in the same year.

The English champions resumed their league action after a successful Club World Cup campaign with a 3-1 victory over Everton in the Boxing Day clash at Goodison Park. As they climbed back into the top four of the table, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola provided an injury update on two of his star players.

Pep Guardiola talks on Erling Haaland’s return

Erling Haaland has been sidelined with a bone stress injury since mid-December, causing the striker to miss the last four matches for the club, including the two fixtures in the Club World Cup. Despite being part of the team for the trip, he could only join as a spectator from the sideline.

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The forward had started every league game, amassing an exceptional tally of 19 goals and 5 assists in a total of 22 appearances across all competitions before suffering the injury. Since then, the 23-year-old has been absent from the lineup, missing two league matches against Luton Town and, most recently, in their Wednesday win over Everton.

In the post-match conference, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola revealed the status of his Norwegian forward and discussed the potential timeframe for his return.

Guardiola stated, “He’s training a lot but not with the team yet. Kevin is with the team, Erling is not yet but feels better. It’s not a stress or fracture but a matter of when the pain will disappear. Hopefully, in January.”

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“He has a stress, the bone is fit but painful. He’s not like Foden who is small and skinny, Erling is huge so it’s difficult at times.”

He added, “He’ll be fine, and when he is he’ll be back and play. The doctors come every morning and say ‘This player is available and this one is not’. Until then, I create the team and we play games.”

Manchester City captain Kevin De Bruyne expected to return very soon

Another pivotal long-term absentee for the treble winners is their ace midfielder, Kevin De Bruyne. He has been sidelined since the beginning of the season due to a severe hamstring injury and subsequently underwent surgery. Currently, he is in the process of regaining match fitness during his recovery period.

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The Manchester City coach also addressed Kevin De Bruyne’s condition during the post-match discussion on Erling Haaland’s status.

He said, “He’s close, but he had fatigue. We have to be careful; he’s been injured for three months, similar to an ACL injury that requires six months. If you don’t handle the timings well, you risk getting injured again.”

“The injury was serious but he’s training with us. So positive and he’ll be back soon. I’d love him to play the next game or against Huddersfield but what is important is keeping him fit for a long time, not for one game or another.”

However, there is positive news for the fans as the Belgian is now training with the squad. He was also part of the training sessions in Saudi Arabia last week and might feature in the upcoming weeks, as hinted by the manager.


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