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Pep Guardiola says Manchester City still not fit after lack of pre-season

5:53 pm, 24th August 2018

Goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, whose penalty heroics helped City knock Wolves out of the Carabao Cup last season, sustained an Achilles tendon injury in training this week – adding to Guardiola’s injury problems.

Kevin De Bruyne has already been ruled out for between two to four months with a knee injury.

Champions City comfortably beat Arsenal at the Emirates in their opening league game before a 6-1 home win over Huddersfield.

Newly-promoted Wolves were the first team to stop City scoring in open play when they faced each other last October, and Guardiola admits the Midlands club “destroyed the Championship”.

But while Guardiola insists there is no chance of complacency creeping in, he warned the club are feeling the effects of a shortened pre-season due to the World Cup in Russia.

“The problem is that now – while we are not far away – we are still not fit,” said Guardiola.

“We see how much the players spend for regeneration after the game. Normally it’s quicker – one or two days – now they need more time.

“It’s because we didn’t make a pre-season. When we arrive, immediately after three-four days we played the Community Shield and Arsenal.

“Some players need much more time to win power, strength. The players complain about muscular problems – that’s why Claudio got out, Kevin. This week Fernandinho had problems with regeneration after the game.

“But it’s normal, we demand a lot and still we are not in the best condition. Hopefully after the international break the team can be better and better.”

Guardiola confirmed the club would not be seeking a free transfer replacement for Bravo and that Aro Muric will be second-choice goalkeeper behind Ederson after being recalled from a loan at NAC Breda.

Manchester-local Daniel Grimshaw, 20, will be third-choice in Bravo’s absence.

Wolves agreed a £16m deal to sign City’s Oleksandr Zinchenko only for the deal to collapse on Deadline Day, according to Sky sources.

Guardiola did not rule out the left-sided player leaving before the transfer windows across Europe close at the end of August.

“We will see what happens at the end of the month but now he is training,” he said. “The situation is not easy for him but I am impressed with how he is training.”