Pep Guardiola has confirmed Kevin De Bruyne will miss the Manchester derby on Wednesday night, whilst also expressing doubts over the availability of Vincent Kompany and Pablo Zabaleta.
The Belgian was forced off in the first half of Manchester City’s 1-1 draw with Southampton on Sunday after picking up a knock to the calf.
Man City go into the game without a win in five games, whilst Mourinho’s men take to the field with Sunday’s 4-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge still etched on their minds.
Speaking ahead of what feels like a must-win encounter for both sides, Guardiola confirmed De Bruyne will miss the clash.
“Kevin, no way, he cannot play,” Guardiola said. “Pablo [Zabaleta] I think cannot.”
“Vincent I think he can but I don’t know today,” he said. “I need to see training and regeneration [before making a decision].”
One really shouldn’t celebrate an injury to an opposition player, but news of De Bruyne’s absence will serve as a galvanising factor for Man United.
The Belgian was simply unstoppable during City’s 2-1 win at Old Trafford back in September: with Mourinho opting out of picking a defensive midfielder, De Bruyne was able to run riot, picking out teammates at will as he charged forward, giving United’s back four an endless series of problems.
One suspects that in his place will be David Silva – a dangerous, nimble force in behind the striker, but perhaps more susceptible to being muscled out of the game.