Manchester City’s defensive crisis worsened with John Stones now ruled out for up to six weeks.
Stones suffered a muscle injury in training on Tuesday morning ahead of the Champions League tie against Shakhtar Donetsk. It leaves Pep Guardiola with just one senior fit central defender, Nicolas Otamendi, and Fernandinho is set to deputise on Wednesday night.
The news gives the City boss yet another headache at the back and he will need to call on teenagers Eric Garcia and Taylor Harwood-Bellis in the coming weeks. ‘John was injured this morning,’ Guardiola said. It’s a big challenge. Just one central defender with Nico. ‘I believe in us a lot. We can solve this problem we have. Sometimes these situations happen. We’re not complaining. It gives the (other) players an incredible step forward.’
Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville both claimed that City will surrender the title to Liverpool if Otamendi and Stones continue to play as poorly as they did at Norwich. ‘No comments about what the pundits say,’ Guardiola added. ‘I have a lot of respect for what Nico and John have done and what they will do for our club. They are pundits. It’s their job.
‘We don’t have many other options (other than Fernandinho). He arrived late. He trained in the international break really well. As a team-mate and that personality of course he can play in that position.’