Man City’s De Bruyne set to return for Leeds clash
LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP)— Pep Guardiola has revealed Kevin De Bruyne could return to the Manchester City side for the Premier League leaders’ match against Leeds on Saturday.
De Bruyne was sidelined for City’s wins against Fulham and West Ham after suffering an unspecified injury in their victory over Arsenal on April 26.
The Belgium midfielder was back in training on Thursday and City boss Guardiola suggested it would not be a risk to put him straight back into action at the Etihad Stadium this weekend.
“He trained yesterday, trained good. Today we train and we decide after training,” Guardiola told reporters on Friday.
“Losing or missing just one week or 10 days in this stage of the season is not a problem. The same happened with Nathan (Ake). If he’s fit, he can play.”
City, chasing a fifth title in six seasons, can temporarily move four points clear of second-placed Arsenal if they beat Leeds.
The Gunners face a tricky trip to third-placed Newcastle on Sunday in what could be a defining weekend for the title race.
Treble-hunting City also have Tuesday’s first leg of the Champions League semi-final at Real Madrid looming.
But Guardiola claimed that game would not come into his thinking when deciding how to manage De Bruyne’s return.
“There’s a lot of games and a lot of tension,” Guardiola said. “I see the team really tired after the demands from West Ham and Fulham. I have to see how the players recover, just three days from the previous game.
“I will be focussed on how they are physically and mentally for this game. After, Madrid. The Premier League is so nice, it’s important to go four points in front of Arsenal, really important.”
City will come up against Sam Allardyce on Saturday as the 68-year-old takes charge of Leeds for the first time.
Former Everton and Newcastle boss Allardyce was hired by Leeds this week to try and save their Premier League status.
The Yorkshire club are one place above the relegation zone on goal difference.
“Always there is an impact of a new manager on the players for the first one or two games,” Guardiola said.
“Every team is playing for important things. Of course for Leeds to stay here, the impact is always huge.
“I don’t know how they play, we don’t have any info, we will have to adapt quick after five, 10 minutes. We can imagine what he tries to do. It’s a massive, important game for us.”