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Other SportsDe Bruyne in contention to start at Newcastle, says Guardiola

De Bruyne in contention to start at Newcastle, says Guardiola

Pep Guardiola may unleash Kevin De Bruyne on Newcastle tomorrow evening having been encouraged by the midfielder’s improvement in training this week.

De Bruyne came off the bench in the 5-0 FA Cup win over Huddersfield last Sunday for his first involvement since damaging a hamstring in the season-opening win at Burnley in August.

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Guardiola has repeatedly stated he will take things slowly with his Belgium star but he feels confident in De Bruyne’s ability to play a bigger role at St James’ Park if necessary.

Asked if the former Wolfsburg and Chelsea man is ready to start, Guardiola replied: “Yes. From what I saw yesterday I feel good about it. He got some good minutes in training.

“He is getting better now, he will have a few days off after this game and can train in Abu Dhabi to be good for the next few months.”

City have overcome a pre-Christmas wobble, claiming the FIFA Club World Cup in Saudi Arabia before returning home to win their last three domestic fixtures.

Backing up last season’s treble success was always going to be difficult, but Guardiola is confident they can become the first side to claim the title in England’s top flight four years on the trot.

He added of his third-placed team: “How many points left? Eighteen or 19 games? We are only five points behind, it is statistically possible.

“We want to make a legacy and dynasty. Is it realistic? At the moment, it’s far away so I don’t know. 

“We haven’t had time mentally to recover from winning the treble. I think the Club World Cup gave us an opportunity to find a spark. 

“We’ve won two titles already this season. Right now Liverpool are playing unbelievable, they are back having their best moment in many years.” 

City will need to be at their best to take anything away from Newcastle tomorrow, despite the Magpies’ poor recent league form.

“It always has been difficult [facing Newcastle], especially since Eddie Howe took over,” said Guardiola.

“We have faced each other many times when he was at Bournemouth and now at Newcastle. We have a good history together.”

City will be without Erling Haaland and John Stones for the trip to Tyneside but Guardiola is optimistic Jack Grealish will be fit after a bug.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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