Pep Guardiola admits Erling Haaland still an injury concern for Manchester City

Norwegian striker has ankle ligament damage and will be assessed before League Cup tie with Chelsea on Wednesday

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Pep Guardiola has admitted that striker Erling Haaland remains an injury concern, despite the Norwegian making a goalscoring return to the team at the weekend.

Haaland came on as a second-half substitute, after missing the previous two games due to illness and injury, and scored an injury-time winner at home to Fulham on Saturday – his 23rd goal of the season.

The 22-year-old showed no sign of any concerns when he fired home his late penalty and admitted after the match that it had been “one of the most nervous moments” of his life.

“It was a fantastic feeling to score,” Haaland said. “I love it. I have been injured for a week and it was really important for us to win.”

But Guardiola, speaking ahead of Wednesday's League Cup third-round tie against Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium, revealed that the Norwegian is not yet fully fit.

“He is still not perfect. We will see tomorrow and on Saturday [before the Premier League game against Brentford],” said the Spaniard.

“He is getting better. What's important is the bone is not broken so there's no damage, just the ligament is damaged a little bit. It's not perfect right now, but in one week or 10 days anything can happen – it can change.”

Ths Spanish manager was also asked whether he would be happy for Haaland to play two friendlies for Norway against Republic of Ireland and Finland next week.

“If he feels good,” Guardiola added. “To play for the national team is important for the players. I have no problem for players to when they are fit to play for the national team.”

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The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager also revealed that defender Kyle Walker and midfielder Kalvin Phillips are still not fully recovered from their respective groin and shoulder problems.

While he confirmed Phillips will be in the squad to face Graham Potter's side, Guardiola said Walker will not feature and on their potential involvement in the World Cup with England, he added: “That is up to Gareth Southgate. I cannot answer, I don't know what is the plan.

“I think they are communicating with the physios and doctors – the club and the English national team. Apart from that I cannot answer you, I don't know.”

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live on Sunday, Phillips – a summer signing from Leeds United who has made just three substitute appearances since moving to City – insisted he was “very hopeful” of making England's squad for the finals in Qatar.

“The shoulder's perfectly fine now,” he said. “I have gone through a seven-week process of recovering as fast as I possibly can for the World Cup. Everything is going great.

“I've obviously not done it for quite a long time now but I've kept my fitness up and I'd like to think I could play 90 minutes.”

Updated: November 08, 2022, 3:11 PM