March 6, 2020 / 3:08 PM / a month ago

Guardiola sweats over De Bruyne fitness ahead of Manchester derby

(Reuters) - Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola faces an anxious wait over the fitness of playmaker Kevin De Bruyne as the Premier League champions prepare for a short trip to Manchester United on Sunday.

Soccer Football - Carabao Cup Final - Aston Villa v Manchester City - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - March 1, 2020 Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne REUTERS/David Klein

De Bruyne was missing from the matchday squad in City’s 1-0 FA Cup fifth round win over Sheffield Wednesday midweek due to a shoulder injury.

Guardiola had said the Belgium international landed awkwardly on his back and shoulder during the latter stages of Sunday’s League Cup final win over Villa.

“He’s getting better, tomorrow he’s going to train, he’s not perfect but he feels better,” Guardiola told a news conference on Friday.

“This morning with the physio he said he feels better. Not perfect.”

Leroy Sane is certain to miss the derby after Guardiola conceded the German winger is still weeks away from being ready for first-team football.

After recovering from a long-term knee injury, Sane returned to the pitch with City’s under-23 squad last week, playing just under an hour against Arsenal under-23.

“He is making big progress but still he’s not 100% fit,” Guardiola added.

“I think weeks and more (under-23) games will be good. He will feel it first himself because every week he is getting better and after I will try to give him minutes to get back as soon as possible.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United are unbeaten in their last nine games across all competitions, and a win against City would boost their Champions League qualification hopes.

“From what I saw they follow him (Solskjaer) absolutely,” Guardiola said. “They’re getting better. Right now is maybe their best moment of the season.”

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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