Manchester City, manager Pep Guardiola reports that Man City will be without powerful midfielder Kevin De Bruyne for about four and six weeks.
This season, De Bruyne, the reigning PFA player of the year, was again in magnificent form for City, scoring three goals and providing 10 assists in the Premier League.
Guardiola’s side is in the league on a six-match winning run, a streak that leaves them well-positioned with a game in hand in the title race – two points behind Manchester United leaders.
But after an hour of Wednesday’s hard-fought 2-0 win over Aston Villa, De Bruyne was forced off and Guardiola outlined the extent of the Belgium international’s hamstring injury, speaking ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup trip to League Two Cheltenham Town.
“Kevin, like the doctor, said today after a scan yesterday, will be between four and six weeks out,” he said.
There was better news for right-back Kyle Walker, who is expected to return after a hit to the hip in the Villa game after the weekend, but predictably eyes fell on De Bruyne, who will now miss a potentially crunchy trip to take on faltering Liverpool champions at Anfield on February 7.
The playmaker faces a race to be fit on February 24 for the first leg of the last-16 match of the City Champions League against Borussia Monchengladbach, and Guardiola ruined his injury as a result of a congested fixture schedule.
Not for the first time this season, Guardiola aimed at a vote in the Premier League that decided not to raise the number of substitutions permitted in games from three to five – a step at odds with other major European competitions.
“It is [a huge blow] but we have to move forward,” said Guardiola.