Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has confirmed that Jack Grealish could return to face former club Aston Villa on Wednesday.
Grealish – signed from Villa for a British record £100m in the summer – has been out since suffering a knock in the recent international break, while fellow midfielder Phil Foden is also hoping to prove his fitness.
But the Premier League match at Villa Park is likely to come too soon for Kevin De Bruyne, whose isolation period after suffering from coronavirus has only just ended.
Guardiola told reporters ahead of the match: “Kevin is back but he needs time to be fit.
“All the people who had Covid say it drains them and Kevin needs time to show his form. Phil and Jack are still in the same situation, maybe tomorrow they can play but not a lot of minutes. We are going to see after they train today and the rest we have just 14, 15, players.”
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On Grealish’s start to his time at City, Guardiola added: “He started perfectly, it’s easy because of our English players and the other guys are nice people. Not a problem, he plays good, he needs to settle and needs time. If you analyse games, he doesn’t play bad.
“The way we played and expectations. It’s different to in Birmingham, he did incredibly well at Villa, his commitment to the club to stay and get promoted.
“Now this break come back from England injured, hopefully he comes back and step by step finds his form. We have six seven months ahead of us, I don’t think the best Jack Grealish we see next season, I’m thinking this season.”
On City having a number of different players scoring this season, Guardiola continued: “If we don’t do it, we wouldn’t qualify for the Champions League. In the top leagues, the scorers, we aren’t there. Salah, Mane, we arent in the top 7 or 8. If we don’t attack as a team we don’t survive.
“The league we have done so far is exceptional. The way we are playing is exceptional. The toughest month of the season ahead of us, we have a good team.”
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