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Pep Guardiola makes emphatic Kevin De Bruyne admission after Sheffield United return



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Pep Guardiola was quick to swat away any temptation to bring Kevin De Bruyne onto the pitch against Sheffield United last weekend.

The Belgian has been missing from action since injuring his hamstring against Burnley in Manchester City’s opening Premier League game of the campaign in August. However, De Bruyne finally returned to the matchday squad against Sheffield United last weekend.

While City have dealt with De Bruyne’s injury problems in the past, the Blues hit a rut in recent months months, failing to win in five of eight Premier League clashes since November 12th.

But in positive news for Pep Guardiola’s side, De Bruyne has been back in training since the Blues’ trip to Saudi Arabia for the FIFA Club World Cup, and is now back in the matchday squads for the Blues.

Nevertheless, Guardiola was quick to refute any suggestion that he was tempted to bring the Belgian into the fold against Sheffield United at the Etihad on Saturday, despite De Bruyne being sent to warm-up on multiple occasions.

“No,” Guardiola said emphatically. “He’s close, almost close, but we asked each other to come to the bench, to start to be in the locker room.

“It’s three months out, I think so, so it’s a lot of time he’s been out. So be involved already, but he’s close.”

“He’s close and he’s training good and he will start to get minutes and minutes to get to his best.

“But this is incredible news, like we are waiting for Jeremy (Doku), we are waiting for Erling (Haaland), John Stones, because the second part of the season is already here!

“January will come soon, and it will disappear soon because we have three, potentially four, games.

“And after in February, the Champions League is here, and in the last part of the season we need everyone, and it’s incredible news that Kevin is back, and Erling as well, and Jeremy as well.”

A fully fit squad would be an unfamiliar sight for Pep Guardiola this season, as his City side have not been immune to the ongoing injury crisis impacting many teams across Europe.

But the return of De Bruyne, Doku, and Haaland will be a massive boost as the Etihad outfit look to chase down a record fourth-straight Premier League title.

After 19 games, Manchester City sit five points behind league leaders Liverpool, though City do have a game in hand on the Reds.