Pep Guardiola and his Manchester City staff have been left sweating on the fitness of central midfielder Mateo Kovacic following the international break.
Kovacic was part of the Croatia international squad that embarked on two European Championship qualification matches over the past fortnight against Latvia and Armenia, alongside his City teammate Josko Gvardiol.
While the latter played a part in the 5-0 victory over Latvia, as well as the 0-1 win against Armenia, Mateo Kovacic was a named substitute in both contests and failed to make an appearance from the bench.
As such, questions were raised over his fitness following the first of the two games. Speaking while looking ahead to the clash against Armenia, Kovacic explained, “I had some problems before the match with Latvia, but now I’m ready.
“But I will try to do the last training to the maximum, and the coach will decide,” he continued. “The most ready will play. It’s not easy to play every three days, but it’s the way it is, there’s no other way.”
Now as per the information of Croatian outlet Jutarnji List, translated and relayed by the Manchester Evening News, it is stated that Mateo Kovacic was unable to feature for Croatia in their most recent international outings due to a muscle injury in his back.
It is stated that the City midfielder may have to undergo an MRI scan and could miss 10 days of action, or longer, which would subsequently rule him out of action for the Premier League and Champions League clashes with West Ham and Red Star Belgrade respectively.
Should there be valid reason for further evaluation over the player’s fitness, then City medical staff are expected to assess Mateo Kovacic’s fitness upon his arrival in Manchester this week.
Manchester City take on West Ham United in their return to action following the international break, as Pep Guardiola and his players look towards maintaining their 100 per cent winning start to the new season.
Guardiola himself has also returned from a fitness problem, having undergone emergency back surgery in Barcelona last month which ruled him out of all Manchester City training ground and matchday duties for a period of two games.
Juanma Lillo is now set to resume his duties as assistant coach this weekend, with the Catalan head coach arriving back in Manchester on Wednesday afternoon ahead of the hectic fixture schedule that faces City between now and the next international break in October.
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