Pep Guardiola has revealed both John Stones and Manuel Akanji suffered injuries on Tuesday night.
Stones was replaced at half-time in Manchester City’s 3-0 win over Young Boys, while Akanji was initially named in the starting XI but a last-minute change saw him replaced by Kyle Walker. Guardiola was asked about both players in his post-match press conference and revealed the pair picked up injuries of varying severity.
Asked about Stones, Guardiola said: “It is muscular, his injury. He will be a while out. It is a pity for him as he is an incredible professional. He tried to do it and it’s a pity. It is bad news for us and for tonight.”
On Akanji, the City boss added: “It was a lock in the back. He was training and he locked. When that happens he looks 75 years old. He could not play, that’s why Kyle replaced him in the last moment. Hopefully it will not be a big issue and he could be ready for Sunday.”
Stones’ injury is a major concern for the Blues, especially as he only recently returned to the side. The ex-Everton man missed 11 of City’s first 12 matches of the season with a hip injury and speaking separately to TNT Sport, Guardiola implied it was the same issue, as he said the defender ‘felt it again’.
The injuries to Stones and Akanji could leave City with a shortage of defenders for Sunday’s trip to Chelsea. Walker, Ruben Dias, Nathan Ake, Josko Gvardiol are the obvious options to start in a back four, although Rico Lewis offers an alternative.
Meanwhile, the 3-0 win for City on Tuesday ensured the European champions progressed to the Champions League knockout stages for an 11th straight season, with the club also setting a new record for an English side of 18 unbeaten matches in Europe.