Kevin De Bruyne a doubt for Manchester City’s clash at Bournemouth
Kevin De Bruyne remains a doubt for Manchester City’s Premier League trip to Bournemouth on Saturday.
The Belgium playmaker missed City’s draw at RB Leipzig in the Champions League on Wednesday due to illness.
Manager Pep Guardiola expected the player to be involved in training on Friday afternoon but it was unclear whether he would be ready to feature at the Vitality Stadium.
Defender Aymeric Laporte, who also missed out in midweek after feeling unwell, and thigh injury victim John Stones are unlikely to return.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday lunchtime, Guardiola said: “We have training this afternoon.
“I think Kevin is back to training, Ayme I don’t think so. John maybe will do partial.
“We will see later. Kevin, maybe (will be available), but the other two – I don’t think so.”
The draw in Germany was City’s second successive frustrating result after they were held 1-1 by Nottingham Forest and lost ground in the title race last weekend.
Coming amid a sequence of five straight away games, which also included a trip to leaders Arsenal and with trips to Bournemouth and Bristol City to come, Guardiola admits his players are feeling the strain.
He said: “We went to Arsenal, then three days after to Nottingham. I was really impressed, after a demanding game in London, with the way we played, how good we were.
"All the games will be so tough" – @PepTeam 💬#ManCity | @okx pic.twitter.com/8bl4vdQV1F
— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 24, 2023
“Then after three days we go to Leipzig to play another demanding game.
“Now it is a question to consider because our fatigue is there, definitely, but we have to take energy from somewhere. I don’t know where but we have to do it.”
The performances of Erling Haaland continue to divide opinion.
The Norwegian has scored 32 goals in as many appearances for the club but the team appear to lack their past fluency with him in it.
This gets highlighted whenever Haaland fails to register – as he did against both Forest and Leipzig – but Guardiola refuses to blame the player.
He said: “It is our fault (collectively), not Erling’s. With Erling I’ve been impressed. He’s been impressive all season.
“In the last game (against Leipzig) they were right, but against Nottingham no, and Arsenal no. Don’t use one game to make a theory.
“He had the chances in Nottingham in the first and second half.
“Of course we have to improve and we will. We talked about it many times and it is going to happen.
“Striker is the most difficult position in the world because you have two players focused on him and for Erling there are more. It is not easy.
“Of course we’ll be fine. I’m frustrated too – it happens. Happiness is overestimated!”