Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola confirms Kevin de Bruyne “will start” against RB Leipzig in the Champions League on Tuesday evening after recovering from Covid-19.
City head to Germany without the support of their fans with the country currently enforcing heightened Covid-19 restrictions after a fresh wave of cases.
Guardiola’s side have already qualified as Group A winners after coming from behind to beat Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 in late November.
De Bruyne played 23 minutes against Watford over the weekend as he continues to build his fitness back up with Guardiola confirming the Man City midfielder will start in Germany.
Guardiola told reporters on Monday afternoon: “Kevin and all of them, Kevin had the corona, was growing and after had the setback. It’s normal, the people who have the corona feel empty. Step by step he plays the minutes, tomorrow he will start and we’ll see how many minutes.”
On the importance of De Bruyne’s return, Guardiola added: “Kevin played the season from the beginning. Arrived from Euros and last season not good conditions and then corona. We’ve got him back, fight for a position like everyone.
“He doesn’t have to show me anything, just to show he’s back and himself. Do what he can do for the last five years. He’s so necessary for the team. Bernardo [Silva] and [Ilkay] Gundogan know it, you have to be good for 90 minutes. I know all of them, they don’t have to show me anything, they have to show for themselves.”
Cole Palmer and James McAtee are among a number of youngsters in the squad to face Leipzig as Guardiola struggles with “a lot of injuries”.
The Man City boss added: “We have a lot of injuries, we need them in training. Romeo (Lavia) is training with us. Normally when they play in the second team they play with us. But in the last game vs Leeds Macca and Cole were with them. It depends on the team, we have Ferran [Torres] injured. Gabriel [Jesus] won’t travel to Germany for the yellow card he got in the last game.
PEP They are 18, 19 years old [Palmer and McAtee] and have everything ahead and can improve everything and be better. But we think they are fantastic young players. But they need to settle and learn how we play. The potential is there and if we need them, it’s not a problem.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) December 6, 2021
“They are 18, 19. You have everything ahead of you. The potential they have, they are fantastic young players. They need to settle perfectly how we behave. The potential is there.”
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