Manchester City have received a double fitness boost concerning Jack Grealish and Mateo Kovacic ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League clash with RB Leipzig at the Etihad Stadium.
Grealish missed the 1-1 draw with Liverpool in the Premier League on Saturday through illness, while Kovacic was also absent due to a thigh injury sustained before the international break.
Matheus Nunes was another who was unable to play against Liverpool due to injury, while John Stones was named on the substitutes’ bench but was not deemed fit to feature having only recently made progress in his recovery from a muscle problem.
Speaking ahead of the midweek encounter with Leipzig, manager Pep Guardiola stated that he was ‘not optimistic’ of any of the injured players returning to the matchday squad for their penultimate Group G fixture.
“I’m not much optimistic about some good news for some people to come back,” Guardiola said at a press conference on Monday.
“We’ll see this afternoon. I think it’ll be the same people that played against Liverpool. We have training now but we’ll see this afternoon. We’ll do the second day of recovery. We won’t think to do anything.”
However, Citizens supporters have seemingly been handed a fitness boost regarding both Grealish and Kovacic as both players have taken part in this afternoon’s open training session at City Football Academy.
Stones was also one of the 21 Man City players who trained, but there was no sign of Nunes which suggests that Tuesday’s game will come too soon for the midfielder.
Discussing Stones’s fitness, Guardiola said: “He’s getting better. Not to play but maybe a few minutes, maybe for the next one. He’s really, really close to coming back. It’s incredibly good news for us.”
Asked about De Bruyne’s comments over his potential return, Guardiola said: “I’d love to have him all season but he has had a tough injury and surgery so he has had to recover well. End of December or Happy New Year will be a Happy New Year for everyone.”
Man City have already qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League along with Leipzig, but they can secure top spot in Group G if they claim at least a point on Tuesday.
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