Pep Guardiola has confirmed that John Stones, Jack Grealish and Mateo Kovacic will all miss City’s UEFA Champions League opener against Red Star Belgrade. The trio missed City’s weekend win over West Ham due to injury.
Speaking in the pre-game press conference Pep explained the star trio’s injury situation. He explained: “I think they are getting better, they are not for tomorrow. Hopefully for Nottingham or next coming games because we need it because we have not a long squad in that moment. But it’s what it is.”
PEP 💬 (On Kovacic, Stones and Grealish) I think they are getting better, not for tomorrow. Hopefully for Nottingham and the coming games because we need it. pic.twitter.com/dnnj23IFZV
— Manchester City (@ManCity) September 18, 2023
The City manager explained further that the treble winners needed Stones, Grealish and Kovacic back for competition within the squad. He said: “Look how we prove without them in the last games. Hopefully, they’ll be back soon because we need the competition. We need, you know, Jack to compete with Jeremy Doku and how important it is both feeling to play good to maintain and be in the squad.”
With Grealish, Stones and Kovacic all set to miss the European champion’s clash with Red Star Belgrade the City squad will likely be light on again. For City’s clash with West Ham, the champions only had 8 players on the bench, two of whom were goalkeepers.
The good news for Manchester City is that the trio should be back sooner rather than later. With Pep Guardiola confident of their return the hope is they could be amongst the squad for Saturday’s match with Nottingham Forest.