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Pep Guardiola confident Manchester City can handle defensive injury crisis

Pep Guardiola is backing his Manchester City players to deliver (Martin Rickett/PA)
Pep Guardiola is backing his Manchester City players to deliver (Martin Rickett/PA)

Pep Guardiola is confident injuries will not derail his Manchester City side as they bid to close out the Premier League title.

The champions are running out of options at the back after Aymeric Laporte and Fernandinho, starting centre-backs at Wolves in midweek, suffered knocks in that game at Molineux.

With John Stones, Ruben Dias and Kyle Walker already ruled out and Nathan Ake not fully fit either, Guardiola is awaiting news of their condition as he plans for Sunday’s trip to West Ham.

Aymeric Laporte has given City another defensive injury worry
Aymeric Laporte has given City another defensive injury worry (Mike Egerton/PA)

But with the finishing line and a fourth title in five years in sight, the City boss expects whoever he picks to rise to the challenge.

“It could be better but I’ve said many times we have to handle these absences,” said Guardiola, whose side head into their penultimate fixture at the London Stadium with a three-point advantage over second-placed Liverpool.

“If there were many games and many months we’d be in big trouble, a big problem, but for one or two games the players will do their best, even those not playing in their position.

Kevin De Bruyne scored four in a comfortable win at Wolves
Kevin De Bruyne scored four in a comfortable win at Wolves (Nick Potts/PA)

“The concentration and the focus (for players) sometimes, when you don’t play in your position, is higher. Like we saw against Wolves, they can do it.”

City put Wolves to the sword as they ran out 5-1 winners with Kevin De Bruyne scoring four. It took their goal tally to 19 in their last four league games and improved their goal difference to seven better than Liverpool’s.

With Liverpool involved in the FA Cup final this weekend, victory for City over the Hammers would see them effectively put one hand on the trophy.

Guardiola feels the job is not done yet, however.

“Things in football change so quickly,” he said. “When you believe it is sorted or it is good and you are in control, it can give you a good punch in the face.

“At the same time when it looks like a disaster, a nightmare, one week can change everything. Before I had just Wolves, now it is just West Ham in my mind.”

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