Guardiola confirms De Bruyne for Tottenham clash
Pep Guardiola has confirmed Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne is available to face Tottenham on Thursday despite missing a training session this week.
De Bruyne was absent from City training on Tuesday after being given time off for personal reasons ahead of Tottenham’s visit to the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League.
The Belgium midfielder’s absence was noted when a television crew filmed part of the training session.
But City Pep Guardiola told reporters on Wednesday that De Bruyne is set to feature for the champions in the crucial clash against Antonio Conte’s team.
“He had a personal issue and could not train but today he is back,” Guardiola said.
Guardiola also revealed City centre-backs Ruben Dias and John Stones are also hoping to return against Tottenham after injury lay-offs.
Portugal’s Dias has not featured since the World Cup due to a thigh injury, while England international Stones has missed the past three games with an unspecified fitness issue.
“They are back. They have trained really well in the last two sessions, both. They are in contention,” Guardiola said.
“We are going to train this afternoon and see the way we have to play and who is going to play.”
City are hoping to bounce back after their controversial 2-1 defeat at arch rivals Manchester United on Saturday.
Arguments raged over the nature of United’s game-changing equaliser, when Bruno Fernandes’ strike was allowed to stand despite Marcus Rashford being offside and appearing to interfere with play in the build-up.
Rashford compounded City’s frustration by grabbing the winner moments later to leave City trailing leaders Arsenal by eight points.
Refusing to let his players feel sorry for themselves, Guardiola has no intention of dwelling on the frustrating result.
“It’s over, it’s past. We are not going to change anything now, so the focus is Tottenham. Two minutes later, in the dressing room, that was my message to the team,” he said.
“We have to improve our game, control what we can control. This is what big teams have to do. It is the past, and that is all.”
Guardiola conceded City have not been at their best of late, with the United defeat coming after a limp League Cup quarter-final loss at Southampton.
“Our fluidity has not been as good as usual. Sometimes, to make chances you need to make a good build-up, put the ball inside to open and spread the defensive lines and we struggled in the last two games,” he said.