Pep Guardiola revealed Manchester City’s medical staff are “optimistic” on Ilkay Gundogan’s fitness, after the midfielder sustained a knee injury in the defeat at Brighton and Hove Albion.
Gundogan trudged off 56 minutes into Tuesday’s contest, with City leading 2-1 at the time – the Germany international having opened the scoring early on, before Phil Foden netted a sensational second and Leandro Trossard replied for Brighton.
The 30-year-old, who has scored 17 goals across all competitions this season, was the recipient of a reckless challenge from Alireza Jahanbakhsh in the first half, and Guardiola cited this as the reason for his eventual departure.
Gundogan had an ice pack strapped to his left knee as he watched on from the sidelines, with City going on to capitulate to goals from Adam Webster and Dan Burn, whose winner sealed Brighton’s first top-flight victory over the Citizens since 1981.
With the Champions League final against Chelsea coming up on May 29, Guardiola said Gundogan will be assessed on Wednesday, though the initial prognosis was positive.
“Tomorrow we are going to check it. The doctor is quite optimistic,” Guardiola told a news conference.
“The problem is he had a kick and he was running in the second half with a disturbance. I didn’t want to take a risk, that’s why we did the substitution.”
“He started the second half and had niggles in the muscles because he could not run properly. That was the reason for the substitution.”
Gundogan may not be the only star midfielder facing a race against time to be fit for the showdown in Porto next week, with Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante going off with a problem in their match against Leicester City.
With 32 minutes played at Stamford Bridge, Kante left the field to be replaced Mateo Kovacic.
Kante – who was named in France’s squad for Euro 2020 on Tuesday – showed no obvious signs of discomfort but was seen discussing his presumed fitness problem with an animated Thomas Tuchel on the touchline.