‘I don’t know’ – Guardiola unsure how Man City will cover De Bruyne loss with transfer ’90 per cent off’

Joe Williams
Man City boss Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola watches his side during the European Super Cup final.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola insists he currently doesn’t know how he will cover Kevin de Bruyne’s absence amid reports a deal for Lucas Paqueta is on the verge of collapsing.

The Belgium international is facing up to four months on the sidelines and could require surgery on a hamstring injury after lasting just 23 minutes of the season opener against Burnley a week ago.

He was forced off in the first half of Man City’s Champions League final triumph over Inter Milan in June and did not play a single minute of pre-season before last week’s fresh injury.

When asked how they plan to cope with the absence of De Bruyne, Guardiola replied in his pre-match press conference: “Last season when Gundo stayed, Kevin got injured or we just had to make adjustment because people know you and people have to find the solutions for something you have done. I’m pretty sure you have to do something differently. Right now, I don’t know.”

Guardiola added: “Kevin is a really, really important player. We have haven’t lost him for one or two weeks, we’ve lost him for four or five months. He’s 32 years old, for the team he has to be very physical because his actions are so decisive.”

Signing Lucas Paqueta would potentially ease the burden on Man City in forward areas but Sky Sports are now reporting that there is a ’90 per cent chance [the] deal is off’.

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Man City beat Sevilla in the European Super Cup on penalties on Wednesday with their next Premier League match at 8pm on Saturday.

On the Premier League schedule, Guardiola continued: “We want to continue to compete and we are now in a big, big problem. Not just for this game but in general and that is what it is. Every manager would say the same in my position. People went to sleep at 4am in Greece when they played at 10pm. Arrive, recovery with 35c or 40c in Greece.

“Come back, arrive here late, and then it’s this game, tomorrow’s game, today we cannot train. I would train but we are not going to do anything because we do not have time. I would love one more day. But okay, we accept it, this is the challenge. Every manager would say the same. This is the challenge.

“This is why we won. Because we overcome all the time this kind of position. All the time we have less time to recover between the games, not a problem.

“We have to go there and try. One of the more physical teams, one of the more efficient teams in the Premier League right now, I would say are Liverpool and Newcastle. This is what defines the big teams, how we compete with the problems.”