Pep Guardiola deals Leeds United major team news blow as 23-goal Man City man set for return
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The Belgian has missed City’s last two fixtures, wins over Fulham and West Ham United, after scoring twice in the pivotal 4-1 victory against Arsenal last month.
Guardiola says the midfielder, who has scored seven times and registered 16 assists in the Premier League this season, is fit to play and a decision will be taken on Friday whether he is able to start versus Leeds.
"He [De Bruyne] trained good yesterday. Today we are going to train and decide after training.
"Losing just one week or ten days is not a problem, it's the same thing that happened with Nathan [Ake]. He's fit, he will play,” Guardiola said.
City have the small matter of a UEFA Champions League semi-final tie with Real Madrid to consider as well, scheduled for Tuesday night, three days after the visit of Leeds to the Etihad, which may feed into Guardiola’s thinking when deciding on an XI to face Sam Allardyce’s side.
Guardiola responded earlier in the week that the 68-year-old was ‘right’ in his assessment that he is on par with the likes of the City boss, Jurgen Klopp and Mikel Arteta.
In addition, Guardiola has said: “It’s the past [beating Allardyce’s teams by an aggregate of 13-1 in previous encounter].
"Always the impact [of] a new manager on the players for the first one or two games. Every team [is] playing for important things. We don’t have any info on what system they are going to play. We will need 15 minutes to adapt."
Allardyce hopes Leeds can utilise the ‘element of surprise’ in the way they approach Saturday’s game, something Guardiola certainly appears to be aware of.
Whether Leeds can steal a march on the Premier League champions during the opening exchanges, before talisman De Bruyne looks to add to his 23 league goal contributions this season, possibly from the bench, remains to be seen. Kick-off in Manchester is at 3pm.