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Man City 'need' players back from injury or winning run will end - Guardiola

12:43 GMT+4 13/03/2019
Pep Guardiola Manchester City 2018-19
The reigning Premier League champions are in brilliant form but their manager is fearful it will come to an end if his injured players don't return

Pep Guardiola praised the competition within Manchester City's squad but insisted the club "need" players to return from injury if they are to maintain their winning run.

City claimed their 10th win in a row in all competitions on Tuesday night after beating Schalke 7-0 to advance to the quarter-finals of the Champions League after a one-sided last-16 tie in the competition.

Star players Kevin De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Nicolas Otamendi and Vincent Kompany all missed the match against the Bundesliga side but their absences proved no impediment for the Premier League leaders, who condemned Schalke to the heaviest Champions League loss suffered by a German side.

One player who did start for Guardiola’s team was Leroy Sane, a forward who has been a common feature on City’s bench this season having made 10 substitute appearances already during the current campaign.

However, he started for the first time in five games against Schalke and went on to play a major role in the final result with the 23-year-old scoring once and setting up three other goals.

He took a starting berth ahead of Riyad Mahrez in the City side, and Guardiola insisted after his team’s European triumph that the competition in the squad is pushing everyone on. 

"They know they have to compete with each other," Guardiola told BT Sport.

"Everybody wants to play and everybody has to play at a good level. Today [Tuesday] everybody tried to play, to be involved and keep going.

"In the last game Riyad [Mahrez] was one of the best players and today Leroy played at a good level.

"We are happy to achieve the quarter-finals. Hopefully we can achieve one step forward."

However, Guardiola warned it is imperative that the squad's sidelined stars make quick recoveries in order to maintain an imperious run of form.

De Bruyne is currently out with a thigh problem, while he is also joined on the medical room by the likes of Fernandinho and Claudio Bravo.

"At the moment we have a lot of injured players," Guardiola added. 

"We want to continue this run, especially in April, but we need players to come back fit or it won't be possible."

City's next fixture is against Swansea City in the FA Cup quarter-finals on March 16.