De Bruyne faces up to six weeks out after lat­est set­back

Manch­ester City player hurt left knee in League Cup win against Ful­ham

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - SOCCER - Jamie Jack­son

Kevin De Bruyne is set to be out for up to six weeks after suf­fer­ing lig­a­ment dam­age in his left knee, and Pep Guardi­ola has ad­mit­ted Manch­ester City are stronger with the Bel­gian in the team.

The 27-year-old sus­tained the in­jury in the 86th minute of Thurs­day night’s 2-0 League Cup win over Ful­ham. The game was only De Bruyne’s sec­ond start fol­low­ing a three-month ab­sence be­cause of lig­a­ment dam­age to his right knee. In Jan­uary 2016, De Bruyne also se­ri­ously in­jured his right knee and an­kle lig­a­ments.

Yet Guardi­ola is not wor­ried De Bruyne may have an un­der­ly­ing is­sue. “This kind of in­jury is un­lucky, he’s so strong and he’s re­cov­ered so well [from the pre­vi­ous one] which was more dan­ger­ous than this one.

“He’ll re­cover well – we have an ex­cel­lent med­i­cal depart­ment. I’m more con­cerned about mus­cu­lar in­juries. He’s un­lucky with this sit­u­a­tion. We are a stronger team with Kevin than with­out him, but we have to live with­out him.”

Strong

Asked how De Bruyne is feel­ing, Guardi­ola said: “He was so sad after the game. In the next day he’ll be strong again. He’ll spend the time with his new [baby] boy.”

If City’s prog­no­sis is cor­rect De Bruyne could re­turn to face Chelsea on De­cem­ber 8th. Guardi­ola hopes by then City may have al­ready se­cured pas­sage to the last 16 of the Cham­pi­ons League.

Fresh

“Hope­fully we’ll be in the knock­out [stage] when he comes back. That will help us in the last part of the sea­son – that he will be fresh and help us to reach our tar­gets. He will be treated by Dr Cu­gat [in Barcelona] and he’ll be treated here. He’ll be in a re­ally good place to deal with the prob­lem.”

De Bruyne will def­i­nitely miss next week­end’s Manch­ester derby at the Eti­had Sta­dium, though Guardi­ola is fo­cus­ing on the wider pic­ture.

“It’s not about the derby, it’s three points like Southamp­ton [on Sun­day] – the Manch­ester derby will be an­other game. For the fact he was out two and a half months [too] – we’re sad for him, we don’t like in­jured play­ers. But it is what it is. Un­for­tu­nately Kevin is in­jured, but it is four to six weeks, and he’ll come back.”

Qual­i­ties

Guardi­ola also praised the qual­i­ties of Aymeric La­porte, the cen­tre-back who has started ev­ery match this term apart from those in the League Cup.

“First of all his qual­ity and his men­tal­ity – he’s a guy who wants to learn. He has ar­ro­gance and that’s so im­por­tant to play at a high level. He didn’t play the World Cup so he’s fresh. He wasn’t selected by France [for the re­cent in­ter­na­tion­als] so he’s fresh again.”

La­porte ar­rived in Jan­uary from Ath­letic Bil­bao for £57 mil­lion. “He’s strong,” Guardi­ola said. “He needed some pe­ri­ods to adapt but not too much. He had more than 100 games playing against [Lionel] Messi, [Cris­tiano] Ron­aldo and Ney­mar [in Spain] – that helps.”

– Guardian

PHO­TO­GRAPH: AN­DREW YATES/REUTERS

Manch­ester City’s Kevin De Bruyne feels the pain after sus­tain­ing the iknee njury.

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