Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says he resisted the temptation to risk Kevin De Bruyne against Manchester United as the midfielder was not ‘100 per cent’ fit for the Old Trafford clash.
De Bruyne picked up a shoulder injury in the Carabao Cup triumph over Aston Villa at Wembley last weekend.
The 28-year-old Belgian was also omitted from the team that beat Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup in midweek, and is now a doubt for the league clash with Arsenal on Wednesday.
Speaking before Sunday’s game at Old Trafford, Guardiola explained: ‘He feels better but he doesn’t feel 100 per cent. And we don’t take risks.
‘We have three important games in the Premier League, but of course the position that we have, Madrid and Newcastle are the real important games for us.’
De Bruyne has been a stalwart in the City midfield this campaign, registering 16 league assists and eight goals.
City face a string of season-defining fixtures in the coming weeks, starting with the second leg of their Champions League tie against Real Madrid on March 17.
Just four days later, Guardiola’s side travel to St. James’ Park to take on Newcastle United in the FA Cup quarter-finals.
The Premier League champions look set to be relieved of their crown, with Liverpool just three wins away from claiming the title.
However, winger Raheem Sterling fired a warning shot to Jurgen Klopp’s side, saying the Manchester club will be back with a vengeance next season.
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