Kevin De Bruyne was dealt another severe blow on Friday as it emerged that he faces another six weeks out with knee-ligament damage.
Fulham’s Timothy Fosu-Mensah fell awkwardly on De Bruyne’s left knee during Manchester City’s 2-0 Carabao Cup victory on Thursday and the midfielder suffered his second injury setback of this season.
De Bruyne, 27, missed two months after a training ground accident in August, although that was a right-knee injury.
City manager Pep Guardiola could be without De Bruyne for seven matches — including next weekend’s Manchester derby. The Belgian now faces a race to be fit for the December 8 clash at Chelsea.
‘The previous injury was more dangerous,’ Guardiola said. ‘The doctor said he was sad. On Saturday he was less sad and the next day he’ll be strong again.
‘I’m more concerned by muscular injuries. We are a stronger team with Kevin than without him but we have to live with that.’
De Bruyne, who does not need surgery, will travel to Barcelona for treatment by Dr Ramon Cugat and Guardiola believes his time on the sidelines may bring benefits later in the season.
‘He’ll spend the time with his new boy and his family,’ Guardiola added. ‘Hopefully after the international break, there’ll be two or three more games and after that he’ll be back.
‘That will help us in the last part (of the season) that he will be fresh in mind and body and help us reach our targets. Fortunately it is no surgery.’
Guardiola also maintained City are doing everything in their power to convince Thursday’s two-goal hero Brahim Diaz that he should stay at the Etihad Stadium.
Both Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund are interested in the 19-year-old midfielder and would be able to speak with Diaz in January, given that his City contract ends in the summer.
Guardiola said: ‘We want him. If it’s on the table I don’t know. We want them to stay for longer when they are 17 or 18 because they are not already football players.
‘Jadon Sancho, we wanted him but he didn’t want to. What can we do? It’s a market and it’s what it is. We go to other clubs and buy players. We try to take care of them, give them the best facilities and we try to do everything.’