admits that he is ‘not optimistic’ that his injured players will be back any time soon.
The Citizens host RB Leipzig in the on Tuesday night with both sides already through to the round of 16.
It’s not quite a dead rubber game however, as the result will likely determine who finishes top of their group, with City the clear favourites having won three of their five previous meetings.
It’s a chance for Guardiola to rotate his team a little ahead of the busy December schedule which includes six fixtures, a Champions League trip to Red Star Belgrade and the Club World Cup in Saudi Arabia.
But he won’t be able to call upon Jack Grealish (illness) or Mateo Kovacic (thigh injury), with the manager not confident they’ll be fit in time.
‘We have training but we will see this afternoon. We will do the second day of recovery, we won’t do absolutely anything,’ he said in his pre-match press conference on Monday.
‘I’m not optimistic about some people coming back but we will see. I think it will be the same people who played against Liverpool.’
One person who was on the bench against the Reds was key defender John Stones who has returned from a hip injury, but Guardiola says the England star is not actually ready to play.
‘John Stones is getting better. He’s not for playing but maybe a few minutes, but he’s really, really close to coming back,’ he added
This is a big blow for City, who take on fellow title contenders Tottenham and Aston Villa next week, with the Citizens now second in the table, a point behind Arsenal.
Additionally, long-term absentees Kevin De Bruyne and Matheus Nunes remain out, though the former said over the weekend that he would be back in January having hobbled off with a thigh injury during the opening game of the season.
Guardiola has now confirmed as much, saying: ‘If he said January, it will be January.
‘I would have loved to have him all season but now he has a tough injury and surgery and he said end of December or New Year so it will be a happy new year for everyone.’
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