REUTERS - Manchester City could be without attacking midfielder David Silva but strikers Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus are set to feature when they host local rivals Manchester United in Thursday’s Premier League clash, manager Pep Guardiola has said.
Silva was substituted off after 23 minutes following a heavy tackle from Arsenal defender Gabriel Paulista in City’s 2-1 FA Cup semi-final defeat last weekend. Aguero also left the field during extra time but will be available for selection.
Brazil international Jesus is in line for a return after recovering from a foot injury suffered against Bournemouth in February.
“David Silva is a real doubt. I don’t know if he is ready to play after what happened in the semi-final,” Guardiola told in a news conference on Wednesday.
“Gabriel Jesus is ready but his physical condition is not optimal. Sergio Aguero is much better - he will be ready.
“Aguero and Jesus can play together, it depends on the way we want to play. If you play without wingers, more narrow, they can play,” Guardiola said.
United are fifth in the league, trailing fourth-placed City by one point in the race for a Champions league qualifying spot ahead of Thursday’s derby.
“We have six games left, four at the Etihad, so our Champions league qualification will depend on our games at the Etihad and the first one is tomorrow,” Guardiola said.
The Spanish boss expects a tough game against Jose Mourinho’s side despite the injury to United’s leading scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who was ruled out for the rest of the season with a cruciate knee ligament problem.
“Of course Ibra is a great player but they have other strikers such as (Jesse) Lingard, (Marcus) Rashford and (Ashley) Young that can get behind the defence,” he added.
“They have been playing without him, but they achieved to play the way Mourinho wants.”
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson