Haaland injury 'not perfect', but Phillips back for Chelsea tie

Pep Guardiola is unsure if Erling Haaland will feature against Chelsea, but midfielder Kalvin Phillips will be part of the squad for Wednesday's EFL Cup third-round tie.

Haaland returned from a two-game injury absence as a second-half substitute against Fulham at the weekend and scored a late penalty to snatch a 2-1 victory for his side.

However, the Norway international – who boasts 23 goals in 17 appearances for City – has still not fully recovered from the foot injury and may sit out the visit of Chelsea.

"He is still not perfect," Guardiola said at Tuesday's pre-match press conference. "We'll see tomorrow [Wednesday] and on Saturday [against Brentford]. He is getting better.

"What's important is the bone isn't broken so there's no damage, just the ligament is damaged a bit. It's not perfect right now, but in one week or 10 days anything can happen."

Haaland is expected to be called up by Norway for this month's friendlies with Republic of Ireland and Finland, but Guardiola says that will depend on the striker's fitness.

"If he feels good, to play for the national team is important for the players," Guardiola said. "I have no problem for players when they are fit to play for the national team."

Erling Haaland has 23 goals this season
Erling Haaland has 23 goals this season

Wednesday's match will come too soon for England defender Kyle Walker, who remains a World Cup doubt, but international colleague Phillips will be available.

Phillips has played just 13 minutes since joining from Leeds United during the close season, owing to a shoulder injury that required surgery.

Despite his lack of playing time, the midfielder remains hopeful of being included as part of Gareth Southgate's 26-man squad for Qatar 2022, which will be named on Thursday.

Asked if he believes Phillips will be ready to play a part for England in Qatar, Guardiola said: "That is up to Gareth Southgate. I cannot answer, I don't know what the plan is.

"I think they are communicating with the physios and doctors – the club and the English national team. Apart from that I cannot answer you, I don't know."

City have won the EFL Cup four times under Guardiola and advanced from each of their past nine third-round ties in the competition, scoring 34 goals in that period.

Meanwhile, Guardiola's side have won 10 of their past 14 home matches against Chelsea in all competitions, most recently winning 1-0 in the league in January.

City are also through to the last 16 of the Champions League and are two points behind Arsenal in the Premier League, with the FA Cup set to start in two months' time.

However, in a week his side posted an annual profit of £41.7million, up from £2.4m in the previous year, Guardiola insists he is not looking to strengthen in the January window.

"We are not going to do that," he said. "We have the squad we have, we are pleased and that's all."