Pep Guardiola couldn’t confirm whether Manchester City players Ilkay Gundogan, John Stones, Kyle Walker and Kevin De Bruyne would be available for the Premier League trip to Watford.
The four players all missed City’s win at Aston Villa, with De Bruyne back in training but not fully fit, and the other players unavailable through niggles.
Explaining why Stones, Walker and Gundogan missed out, Guardiola explained how they picked up issues in the days leading up to the Villa trip.
“Yesterday the doctor come and say this player cannot play and after another and this morning the doctor said Gundogan couldn’t play,” he said.
“Aymer [Laporte] was suspended but will be back. Kevin had just two training sessions but is coming back. It is important for us as many players as possible. They have to compete with these guys, they were exceptional.
“I don’t know [if they will face Watford]. Normally I’m not like this, they are not there, I would prefer it, absolutely.”
Guardiola explained how the injury issues are impacting his selection and intended rotation, but refused to make excuses and praise the players who did feature at Villa.
“You cannot compete a long season without players,” he said.
“The moments Rodri and Bernardo play lately is too much. In six years I never complain because the players are not here.
“I didn’t have any doubts about the commitment or our response because they show me many times. They are not there so they have to recover as quickly as possible. I had 12 players today. If you think I complain because players are not here, it’s not going to happen. They have to recover quickly and compete against these guys who were so strong today.”Internet Explorer Channel Network