Erling Haaland suffers bone injury with Man City return date unknown

Erling Haaland - Erling Haaland injury return unknown as Man City striker suffers ‘bone-stress reaction’
It's not known when Erling Haaland will return to action - Shutterstock/Peter Powell

Pep Guardiola fears Erling Haaland could be ruled out of Premier League action until Christmas after admitting he does not know when the Manchester City striker will return from a “bone-stress reaction”.

Haaland, 23, suffered the problem in the defeat against Aston Villa in midweek with Guardiola confirming the issue as a “bone-stress reaction” that ruled him out of the 2-1 win at Luton Town, which saw the Treble-winners travel on the day of the game because of bad weather on Saturday evening.

Guardiola says Haaland will miss the Champions League dead-rubber against Red Star Belgrade on Wednesday and is a doubt to face Crystal Palace before flying to Saudi Arabia for the Club World Cup, which it is hoped he will return for. City will then face Everton on Dec 27.

“He was not ready for this game, I don’t think he will be ready for Crystal Palace. Hopefully he can be ready for Saudi Arabia. Week-by-week will dictate how he feels,” Guardiola said.

“Bone-stress reaction in his feet. Just stress. Please don’t ask that his foot is broken. It’s just stress bone. He almost couldn’t walk properly after Villa. He said on the day before the game that he felt much, much better and he didn’t have pain, that is why the doctor said we have to see week-by-week or day-by-day.”

When asked if Haaland was upset to miss the Luton trip, he added: “Yeah, you want to be ready and want to be fit. During the season there are injuries, suspensions and many things. And now it happened to him after Aston Villa.

“Erling has been so important since he’s arrived that’s for sure. But during the season we see this sort of thing. Injuries, suspensions, problems, we have to adapt.”

The Premier League’s top scorer this season, with 14 goals, has not missed a game this season despite picking up an ankle problem during the international break when he was sent home from duty with Norway to recover.

He has started every Premier League and Champions League game with Guardiola hailing his injury record recently after spending time on the sidelines while at Borussia Dortmund. He only missed the EFL Cup tie against Newcastle when he was an unused substitute.  He played in all but five of City’s league matches in last season’s Treble-winning season.

Jeremy Doku also missed the Luton game, with Guardiola adding: “It’s muscular, it’s not a big issue like Kevin (De Bruyne) was for example. We have to think about it as well because of his explosiveness. We have to be careful. I don’t know when he will be ready, maybe one week or two weeks he will be ready again.”

City could not fly on Saturday evening because of the bad weather that hit much of the UK, but Guardiola enjoyed rushing his usual pre-match routine and giving his players just a 45-second team talk.

“I love it. I’d do it every day! I don’t like to be in hotels, I prefer to sleep at home. It’s perfect and I knew we’d compete,” he said.

“We arrived and the players don’t think. The meeting was exactly three minutes of set pieces, 45 seconds was my meeting. We came here with no space or time and went and played, and of course they ran.”