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Manchester City

Guardiola calms Kompany fears as Stones nears return

9:05 PM IST 29/12/17
John Stones Vincent Kompany - cropped
According to his manager, the defender has responded well after being forced off early in Manchester City's win over Newcastle United

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola expects to have Vincent Kompany and John Stones available soon, as he seeks to keep the runaway Premier League leaders focused on short-term objectives.

Fears were raised of a recurrence of Kompany's chronic injury problems when he was forced off after just 11 minutes of the 1-0 win over Newcastle United on Wednesday.

Guardiola, though, speaking ahead of City's trip to Crystal Palace on Sunday, assured supporters the club captain will be back soon.   

"It's not as bad as we thought," he said.

"He will be ready for the next fixtures. We will know exactly tomorrow. 

"[It's] not a big issue, fortunately he can soon be ready to help us."

The coach was also able to offer a positive prognosis on Stones' likely comeback schedule, Kompany's fellow centre-back having not featured since November due to a hamstring problem.

"We will see tomorrow, John is much, much better," Guardiola said.

"Yesterday he made the first complete training session. He's not ready for 90 minutes but can be back in the team. For the next games he will be fit."

Playmaker David Silva missed the Newcastle game due to personal reasons. Asked about the star 31-year-old's availability, Guardiola said: "We will see in the next days."

And of midfielder Fabian Delph, who has been suffering from muscle fatigue, the boss added: "He's much better, we will see tomorrow how he's feeling. Quite a similar case to Vincent. He knows his body."

City are enjoying an English league record run of 18 consecutive victories, leading many observers to suggest – with a 15-point lead over second-placed Manchester United – that the title race is effectively already over.

Guardiola, though, is adamant his players cannot afford to look beyond a busy run of fixtures in the weeks ahead.

"Ok, we are in a good position," he said. 

"[But] you cannot think too far away. It's not good for the players, for the managers. That's the best advice I can give to my players. 

"We are going to lose a game, the problem is how we react. The big news is to win again immediately. I have said it many times to the players. We are going to drop points. That's when I want to see my team."