Haaland 'much better' but faces late assessment ahead of Fulham clash

Erling Haaland's fitness will be assessed following Manchester City's final training session ahead of Saturday's meeting with Fulham, Pep Guardiola has revealed.

Haaland sat out last week's 1-0 Premier League win at Leicester City, as well as Wednesday's 3-1 Champions League triumph over Sevilla, after suffering a foot injury.

The Norwegian has scored 17 goals in his first 11 Premier League appearances, and while Guardiola is keen to see him return, City will wait before making a final decision on his involvement.

"He's much better. We will decide today," Guardiola said on Friday. "It's a good step, he starts to train, and we have training this afternoon and we will see.

"It all depends on himself, his opinion and the doctors' opinion. It could be 90 minutes or less, we will see after training."

Erling Haaland
Erling Haaland

City will be boosted by the presence of another former Borussia Dortmund player next time out, with Manuel Akanji fit to feature after limping out of last week's win at the King Power Stadium.

However, while Guardiola is set to shuffle his pack ahead of the World Cup break. City are still without England duo Kalvin Phillips and Kyle Walker, who are both battling to be fit to make the trip to Qatar.

"Manu is okay, Kalvin and Kyle are still not fit," Guardiola added. "Some players who didn't play [against Sevilla] will play.

"I have many players, I have to use them. I demand the best of them, and this will always happen in the future."

The scheduling of a mid-season World Cup has attracted renewed criticism in recent days after several big-name players – including Tottenham's Son Heung-min and Manchester United's Raphael Varane – saw their hopes of playing in Qatar thrown into doubt by injuries.

However, with just over two weeks to go until the tournament begins, Guardiola does not believe the spectre of the World Cup is causing his players to play with caution.

"I'll be honest with you, seeing the way our players behave, how they run, how they compete in duels, I'm not concerned at all about what is going to happen in these six or seven days," said the City boss.

"Next Saturday, we will start the World Cup preparations, and holidays for the rest of the players. From what I saw, so far, everyone is committed to what we have to do."