Aymeric Laporte is facing up to another month on the sidelines at Manchester City with a hamstring injury, Pep Guardiola has revealed.
The French defender left the field in tears after picking up an untimely knock during a 2-1 victory for the Blues over Real Madrid in the first leg of a heavyweight Champions League last-16 encounter.
He finds himself back on the treatment table as a result, having already sat out a large part of the 2019-20 campaign.
City struggled for consistency during Laporte’s earlier absence, with a key man ruled out just four games into the current Premier League season.
He was not seen again until January and has managed only four further outings before being laid low once more.
Guardiola concedes that he is now likely to be without Laporte until late-March, meaning that he will be unavailable for the Carabao Cup final, an FA Cup fifth round clash with Sheffield Wednesday, a derby date with Manchester United, the return leg of a meeting with Madrid and a trip to Chelsea.
The City boss told reporters when offering an update on Laporte: “It’s a hamstring injury. Normally it is three weeks or a month. We try to avoid it but it has happened. Sometimes, it happens.
“I imagine it’s tough and you have to work hard. Life is not easy and always in the world the people who survive are the ones who cope with the bad moments. It is what it is. Accept it, work hard to come back as soon as possible.”
While Laporte will be restricted to a watching brief against Aston Villa at Wembley on Sunday, Guardiola is looking forward to chasing down another piece of major silverware.
He said: “It is so difficult to reach a final so being there again it is a great achievement. Hopefully for the fans we can win it.
“The result the of last day is past and now we focus on the final. It is a different competition with a historic team. I think it will be a fantastic game.”
Guardiola, whose City side are chasing down a third successive Carabao Cup triumph, added on the benefits of heading into another big game on the back of a notable win over Madrid: “Of course it is better.
“It’s much better to go to play a final after a good result in Madrid but we cannot live a final thinking how good we were.
“Madrid is not done first of all, always I have thought that it is incredibly difficult to win at big clubs but it is more challenging to beat them twice.
“Big clubs can lose one game but two? It does not come often. But it helps us so football is about emotion and it is better to play a final with the character.”