In their 2-0 victory over Aston Villa on Wednesday, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola’s anxiety about tempered by injuries to playmaker Kevin De Bruyne and defender Kyle Walker.
At the Etihad Stadium, Belgian De Bruyne looked to have suffered a leg muscle injury and was substituted on the hour mark, while full-back Walker went off after a collision with Villa’s Jack Grealish in the first half.
‘I did not speak to the doctor,’ said Guardiola at a news conference. ‘If Kyle wants to go out, it’s because something is going on. Let’s hope it’s just a kick.’
Guardiola said the injury to De Bruyne may be a consequence of a busy schedule.
‘Kevin put his hand on his knee, so I have a feeling it’s going to be muscular,’ said the Spanish coach.
‘It is natural, with this number of games, these things happen.’
City has won six straight league matches and are two points behind Manchester United, who have played one more match.
After City’s controversial first goal on Wednesday was allowed to stand amid an obvious offside, Aston Villa was infuriated.
In the 79th minute at the Etihad, Bernardo Silva broke the deadlock but profited from Rodri, who had burst back into action despite being obviously outside the defensive line, before then intervening with the strike and teeing up.
After loudly protesting against the decision, Villa manager Dean Smith was fired from the touchline – and even BT Sport’s pundits were left bemused by the confusion.
On several occasions, Villa was able to stand firm and repel the hosts, but the killer blow through the superb arrowed finish of Silva was finally dealt.
Before driving forward and smashing past the impressive Emiliano Martinez, the playmaker picked up the ball on the edge of the penalty area.
However, it was the intrusion from Rodri that saw temperatures spill over inside the technical area of the Villa.
A reluctant Tyrone Mings was capable of dispossessing Rodri and laid the ball off for Silva.
It took a deep dive into the laws of the game to discover that the stage of play reset and Rodri was brought onside due to Mings’ attempt to intentionally play the ball.