Updated 12 Aug 2023 8:55 am:
In a major setback to the Citizens, Pep Guardiola has revealed that Kevin De Bruyne has suffered a recurrence of a hamstring injury and will be out for quite a while. The Belgian international was brought off against Burnley in their first match of the season and Mateo Kovacic their latest signing was brought in to replace the injured talisman.
The 32-year-old picked up a grade three hamstring tear during Manchester City’s victory over Inter Milan in the Champions League final.
De Bruyne wasn’t handed a single minute of playing time during the pre-season owing to his injury.
The playmaker however was brought on as a second-half substitute in the Community Shield loss to Arsenal last weekend. After being declared fit he was handed a start and the captain’s armband in the opening Premier League fixture of the 2023-24 campaign at Turf Moor.
Manchester City were off to a flying start with a brilliant 4th-minute goal from their star striker Erling Halland. Things were going according to plan for the Citizens however during the 22nd minute De Bruyne pulled up holding his hamstring.
Following a thorough consultation with the medical team De Bruyne was brought off and their newest summer signing Mateo Kovacic took his place.
Despite his substitution, Manchester City cruised past Burnley with a comfortable 3-0 victory. A double from Erling Haaland and a goal from Rodri Helped seal a victory for the Citizens.
Guardiola shed light on De Bruyne’s situation and indicated that he may have made the wrong decision to start De Bruyne against the Clarets
Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, the City boss said: “Yes he is injured again. Same issue [as last season] he told me. So that is a problem. We need to go back and reflect with the medical team.
“He was feeling really good and playing really well in the first minutes. But unfortunately, he is injured again.
“Maybe [he shouldn’t have started], but what happens in the first 15 minutes could also have come in the 50th, 65th, 70th minute…”
In a separate interview, Guardiola added: “[De Bruyne] was injured again unfortunately. Same place and position as the Champions League and he will be out for a while.”
Manchester City’s defensive woes doesn’t end there. The treble winners were without defensive duos Ruben Dias and John Stones in their matchday squads as both the defenders were out with different injuries. i.e. John Stones is suffering from an Abductor injury and Dias is recovering from a concussion.
Speaking about the duo Guardiola said “In training the other day, John [Stones] made a pass to Dias, he went too early in his run.
“Ruben has a tough concussion and the protocol of the Premier League says you need seven days off and that’s why he’s not here today.”
Despite the duo’s absence City were able to register a clean sheet against Burnley. Manuel Akanji and Nathan Ake had taken over the center-back roles while summer signing Josko Gvardiol was brought on for his debut in the closing stages, replacing Rico Lewis at left-back.