In­jury cri­sis will force me to use academy play­ers, says Guardi­ola

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Football - By Mike McGrath

Pep Guardi­ola will play academy play­ers in this week’s Carabao Cup tie against Bournemout­h af­ter Manch­ester City won their open­ing Pre­mier League game of the sea­son de­spite an in­jury cri­sis.

City had Bernardo Silva, Joao

Cancelo and Oleksandr Zinchenko re­turn in­jured from pre-sea­son in­ter­na­tion­als, join­ing Ser­gio Aguero, Aymeric La­porte and Eric Gar­cia in the treat­ment room.

It was also re­vealed ahead of the game that City’s Ger­many in­ter­na­tional Ilkay Gun­do­gan had tested pos­i­tive for coro­n­avirus.

They won at Wolves through Kevin De Bruyne’s penalty, Phil Fo­den scor­ing in his first game since be­ing sent home from Eng­land duty and a late strike from Gabriel Je­sus, but Guardi­ola is strug­gling for num­bers for their game on Thurs­day,

“We are go­ing to play mostly play­ers in the academy and try to keep the en­ergy for the Pre­mier League be­cause with the lack of prepa­ra­tion and seven play­ers out and not com­ing back soon, we have to keep the play­ers in this match as safe as pos­si­ble,” said Guardi­ola. “The only thing we want is the seven play­ers out to be back. The prob­lem now is that we are in a com­pe­ti­tion where we can­not spend the en­ergy we spent in this game ahead of play­ing against Le­ices­ter in the next match.

“We will see how many play­ers are avail­able and our re­cov­ery. We won the com­pe­ti­tion three times in a row and would like to con­tinue but we don’t have play­ers to con­tinue in this pe­riod to play ev­ery three or four days. It is what it is.

“This was a good vic­tory for us but we can­not pre­tend we can re­cover in three days with the po­si­tion we are in now.”

Adrian Bern­abe, Liam De­lap and Tommy Doyle from City’s academy were named on the bench against Wolves and are set to play in the cup. Guardi­ola ex­pects La­porte back soon but the bulk of his in­jured play­ers will not re­turn un­til midOc­to­ber. “Most of them af­ter the Leeds game and the in­ter­na­tional break,” Guardi­ola said.

“La­porte isn’t in­jured but has only had one train­ing ses­sion in two months. Eric Gar­cia had 16 stitches but maybe will be fit for the next

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