September 28, 2018 / 2:09 PM / 18 days ago

Soccer: De Bruyne closing in on City return, says Guardiola

(Reuters) - Manchester City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne will resume training shortly as he enters the last phase of his recovery from a knee injury that has kept him out of action since August, manager Pep Guardiola said on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - World Cup - Third Place Play Off - Belgium v England - Saint Petersburg Stadium, Saint Petersburg, Russia - July 14, 2018 Belgium's Kevin De Bruyne during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Michael Dalder/File Photo

The Belgium international sustained a lateral collateral ligament lesion in his right knee in training and has not played since his substitute role in City’s 2-0 victory over Arsenal in their first Premier League match of the season.

“He’s making the last steps. He will start taking a small part in training in the next few days. Everything is going well,” Guardiola told a news conference ahead of Saturday’s league meeting with Brighton and Hove Albion.

The recovery of De Bruyne, who scored eight goals and provided 16 assists in City’s record-breaking league triumph last season, will be welcome news for fans as second-placed City look to maintain the pressure on early pace-setters Liverpool.

Guardiola is under no impression that his team will have an easy match at the Etihad Stadium against a dogged Brighton team.

Chris Hughton’s 13th-placed side followed up their 3-2 win over Manchester United with a narrow 1-0 away defeat by Liverpool earlier this season.

“We know what Brighton have done against United at home and they were so close to getting points in Anfield,” Spaniard Guardiola added.

“I watched the game, they played so good in the second half. They are a really good side with a good manager and have been together for a long time in the Championship and Premier League... three, four seasons.

“They know exactly what they have to do... they are really well organised in the back four. It’ll be a really tough game.”

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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