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‘I feel so sorry for him’

‘I feel so sorry for him’

Alex Livie

Updated 08/11/2023 at 00:05 GMT

The knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League are in sight for Manchester City, who qualified with two games remaining thanks to a 3-0 win over Young Boys at the Ethiad Stadium on Tuesday evening. The one negative from the evening was an injury to England international John Stones, and City boss Pep Guardiola admitted he could be sidelined for some time.

John Stones of Manchester City during the UEFA Champions League match between Manchester City and BSC Young Boys at Etihad Stadium on November 7, 2023 in Manchester, United Kingdom

Image credit: Getty Images

Pep Guardiola lamented an injury to John Stones in Manchester City’s win over Young Boys in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.

It was an impressive performance, but there was a negative in that Stones went off at half-time and Guardiola fears the England international could be a long-term absentee.

Stones missed the start of the season with a thigh injury, but returned in October and started in the wins over Brighton, Manchester United and Bournemouth.

He was in the starting XI on Tuesday night, but did not return for the second half and Guardiola suggested it was a recurrence of his thigh injury.

“John felt it again,” Guardiola told TNT Sports. “I feel so sorry for him because he’s so incredibly professional and committed.

“It’s a big loss for us, John is so important for what he does.”

Asked if it could be a long absence, Guardiola replied: “Yes, I think so.”

Manuel Akanji was due to start, but pulled out in the warm-up and Guardiola confirmed the player felt something in his back.

The win leaves City well placed in the defence of their European title, but Guardiola will take nothing for granted and wants to fend off RB Leipzig for top spot in Group G to ensure a favourable draw in the last 16.

“Two games left, of course in Leipzig is the toughest opponent in this group,” Guardiola said. “You have to try to finish first because it is important to have a in February and March when we have the last-16 the second weapon of having a home (tie in the second leg) better than away.

“We are incredibly happy to have qualified with two games left, we still have to play to finish first, but we have time to think about it.”

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