Kevin De Bruyne still not fit despite returning to Man City squad, admits Pep Guardiola
Posted by  badge Boss on Dec 31, 2023 - 02:11AM
Kevin De Bruyne is nearing a return to fitness (Picture: Getty Images)

might be available when take on Newcastle on 13 January, says , after the Belgian returned to the matchday squad against Sheffield United on Saturday.

The 32-year-old was a surprise addition to the City bench against the Blades, but he didn’t feature in the match, with Guardiola admitting he is not yet ready to return from the hamstring injury that has kept him out since the first day of the season.

Asked about the prospect of De Bruyne playing before the 2-0 win, Guardiola told : ‘I would say not. But he’s training and we spoke yesterday about him being on the bench and in the routine and the locker room.

‘He’s one of our captains so it’s important. It’s really nice to see him back and him being there is proof that he’s getting close to coming back.’

Speaking after the game, the manager suggested it is the trip to St James’ Park that De Bruyne is targeting, rather than the FA Cup clash with Huddersfield on 7 January.

‘Really good – we’ve been waiting a long time for him,’ he said of the midfielder’s return.

‘He’s turning good the last week or so. He came for the trophies today for the picture and to be here and realise when to warm up and how the people support him and look forward to seeing him again. Maybe Newcastle he will be ready.’

Pep Guardiola’s side climbed to third with victory on Saturday (Picture: Getty Images)

Rodri and Julian Alvarez scored in the routine win over Sheffield United, with Phil Foden assisting both goals, leading to Guardiola comparing the Englishman to a club legend.

‘We’re not top of the league but we’re not far away. Titles we won this season. Mood is good, now we rest a bit and have a few days off,’ said the Spaniard.

‘We’ve played these types of games many times, we know and sometimes we handle good sometimes not. Against Villa they played the same system, it’s tight and difficult. We didn’t concede any set pieces second half and when Oscar [Bobb] came in we increased tempo in the final third and created chances.

‘Phil [Foden] can arrive on the sides and make crosses which is tough without Erling [Haaland] or he has to move in the small spaces and in the pockets. Like David Silva in the past. Bernardo [Silva] and Oscar too are really good in the small spaces.’

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