Pep Guardiola is optimistic about Ilkay Gundogan’s injury after the Manchester City midfielder limped off with an injury at Brighton.
With just 11 days before the Champions League final, City were already without Kyle Walker, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero for fitness reasons at Brighton.
After taking the lead early on through Gundogan, Joao Cancelo’s red card on nine minutes left his teammates with 80 minutes of extra running, and the German was targeted throughout with some strong challenges – especially the knee-high studs-up tackle from Alireza Jahanbakhsh that only collected a yellow card.
Gundogan continued to be the subject of some strong challenges, and ultimately limped off just after half time, with Fernandinho replacing him.
However, Guardiola says the change was simply a precaution with the Champions League final coming up, and said the initial diagnosis was cause for cautious optimism.
He said: “Tomorrow we will check it, the doctor seems quite optimistic.
“He [Gundogan] had a kick and was running in second half, disturbing it. I don’t take a risk, that’s why we did a substitution.”
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Regarding the key moments in that first half, including the challenge on Gundogan, Guardiola refused to be drawn on the VAR interventions that clearly changed the game as Brighton fought from 2-0 down to win 3-2.
“I didn’t watch it [back],” he said of the red card.
“I didn’t watch the penalty on Jesus in the last action. I watched the Gundogan tackle but didn’t see it [back]. We have to be more careful. 11 vs 11 against Brighton is tough, 10 vs 11 is difficult, we have to improve for the final. Always is difficult, We try to do it.”