Pep Guardiola spoke to the media for the first time in two weeks this afternoon with the international break over and Manchester City set to host Burnley at the Etihad on Saturday.
Unsurprisingly, the first name to come up was Kevin De Bruyne, with Pep confirming his midfield kingpin is fit again – although couldn’t confirm if he’d start or play 90 minutes.
“I don’t know (if he will start),” said Guardiola. “I don’t know if he is able to play 90 minutes. He’s trained well last two weeks.
“He’s such an important player for us. Whenever a player is out, I like it when they come back – we will be stronger.”
One player who will not be back tomorrow is Ilkay Gundogan, who could still be out for a couple more weeks. Fabian Delph is back, however.
“Ilkay Guendogan is not fit. Fabian is training with us. He is back in contention.
“Ilkay will be out for two or three weeks. I don’t know exactly.”
Guardiola dismissed the importance of Raheem Sterling ending a 1,100-plus day goal drought for England, saying he always knew the winger was a good player, and one who can still improve.
“It’s important (for Sterling) to score goals. Character and personality does not depend on scoring two goals.
“The most important thing – he knows – at 23 years old, he can still be better.”
Joe Hart returns to the Etihad tomorrow to face City for the first time, and Guardiola believes the reaction of the fans will show the importance of Joe to the club.
“There’s no doubt how important Joe Hart was and is. Tomorrow, we will see the people appreciate what he has done for this club.”
Pep was asked about former City academy hot-shot Jadon Sancho, who quit the club to join Borussia Dortmund. He did not rule out a return for the teenager in future, but suggested the player won’t want to come back at this stage of his career.
“Hopefully Jadon Sancho can fulfil his dreams – could he come back here? Who knows, you never know in football, but he wanted to leave here.”
“In football you never know, you can never say never, but I think if he left the club then he is not looking to come back.”