Pep Guardiola admits Raheem Sterling’s hamstring injury ‘is a problem’ for Man City with the winger a doubt for the club’s huge Champions League last-16 first leg with Real Madrid.
The England international limped off during the club’s 2-0 defeat at Tottenham last weekend after injuring his left hamstring, and will miss the Premier League champion’s clash with West Ham at the Etihad on Sunday.
Man City are still waiting to discover the extent of the problem, though Guardiola admits he is unsure on whether the 25-year-old will be fit for his side’s trip to Madrid later this month, the club travelling to face the 13-times European champions at the Bernabeu on February 26.
“Raheem has a hamstring injury and we will see,” said Guardiola at his pre-match press conference. “Of course, it takes weeks, but we will see for Madrid. I don’t know (at this stage).
“(I have) No idea (if it will be weeks or months).
“It’s a problem. It was a problem with Ilkay Gundogan (when he was out) for six months in my first season, and this year Aymeric Laporte has been out. It is what it is. We will see.”
Guardiola’s options have been boosted by the return of Leroy Sane to first-team training, the Germany international having missed the majority of the season after suffering an ACL injury in the club’s Community Shield victory over Liverpool in August.
The 24-year-old has rejoined the club’s sessions but seemingly remains some way off making a first-team return, Guardiola keen to take a cautious approach with the winger following his extended period on the sidelines this season.
“He is training with us. When you have an injury for six months, you cannot train one week and be there,” the Catalan added.
“You have to recover your tempo, rhythm and be confident in your body and your knee. It’s not like an ankle, or muscle injury.
“A knee injury always needs time. He needs weeks.
“The surgery was perfect, and he recovered incredibly well. He will be back but he right now he needs time.”