Man City are dealt a MAJOR injury blow as Ruben Dias is ruled out for the rest of the season after picking up a hamstring problem in emphatic win over Newcastle, with Kyle Walker and John Stones also out for final three games
Manchester City are left with more injury issues, with Pep Guardiola ruling out a trio of first-choice defenders for the final three games of this absorbing title race.
Ruben Dias limped out at half-time of Sunday’s five-goal mauling of Newcastle United after suffering a hamstring problem.
Guardiola confirmed that Dias, Kyle Walker and John Stones will play no further part this season as City look to stave off Liverpool and clinch a fourth Premier League crown in five years.
Ruben Dias (right) will miss the final three games of Man City’s season with a hamstring injury
Nathan Ake was named on the bench on Sunday but his persistent ankle problem is likely to see the Holland international miss Wednesday’s visit to Wolves, described by Guardiola as a ‘final final’. Club captain Fernandinho is set to deputise.
‘We have 13-and-a-half players available for these games, no more than that,’ the City manager said. ‘When that happens everyone has to do more and more to help with the absence. It is what it is. We arrive with problems and that’s all.
‘But honestly in this situation it’s not a problem. If Rodri has to play in that position he will play. Everyone has to do extra.’
Guardiola did add that Sunday was a ‘perfect afternoon’ as City emphatically responded to their dramatic collapse at Real Madrid last week, while Rodri praised the team’s mental fortitude.
It’s another injury blow for Pep Guardiola, who is without three of his starting defenders
‘The Champions League was like a war, a big battle in the brain,’ the midfielder said. ‘You keeping thinking about what happened. It’s tough. You wait eight months for the moment to arrive and then in the last minute it is gone. We showed the personality we have in the team. We had to wake up because we have another title to fight for. Emotionally, this is a vital win.’
Guardiola stoked the fires with Liverpool, claiming the whole country would rather Jurgen Klopp’s team prevailed, while referencing that the Reds had only won one top-flight title in three decades.
‘Maybe they have more supporters all around the world and in England maybe more support Liverpool than us,’ he said – before revealing that the atmosphere at the Etihad Stadium went up several notches on Sunday.
Guardiola added: ‘In the locker room, most of the time with the players we talk about our away fans being really good. Sometimes I say to the players we have to play good to lift our [home] fans, to let the opponent feel that here is not a nice place to come.
Right back Kyle Walker will play no further part in the remainder of City’s campaign
John Stones has also been ruled out for the rest of the season as City close in on the title
‘But today we didn’t need to make a good performance or good actions to do that. People are not stupid. These players have done it like today every three days for five years and they deserve it.’
Eddie Howe believes that Newcastle must look towards evolution over revolution in the hope of bridging the gap between City and Liverpool in the years to come. ‘City can do that to anybody, they’re that good,’ Howe said. ‘I thought the crowd were very good for them from very early on.
‘It’s a huge gap. We have to try and close that and that’s through evolution not revolution. We’re looking to improve in every transfer window but it’s got to be small, gradual steps.’