Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has revealed key man Kevin De Bruyne faces a “few months out” with a hamstring injury which could yet require surgery.
The 32-year-old midfielder was withdrawn midway through the first half of City's 3-0 win over Burnley last Friday. After the game, Guardiola stated the injury was a repeat of the hamstring tear the Belgian had sustained in their 2-1 Champions League final win over Inter Milan.
De Bruyne had been something of a surprise inclusion in the starting line-up at Burnley given he hadn't played a minute in pre-season as he went through the final stages of his recovery. He'd managed a substitute's appearance at Wembley in the Community Shield loss to Arsenal but then lasted just 23 minutes at Turf Moor.
“It’s a serious injury,” the City boss said. “We have to decide surgery or not surgery but a few months out.”
The decision on surgery will be taken in the coming days and could see him miss “three or four months”, Guardiola added.
Asked if the injury occurred because De Bruyne was rushed back into action before he was ready, Guardiola said: "We could say 'don't play' but this injury could happen later.
"Before I took the decision I spoke to the doctor, the physio and him. He said he felt good. We will see (about signing a replacement for De Bruyne). After what happened we will see the possibilities."
The City boss was speaking ahead of Wednesday night's Uefa Super Cup against Sevilla in Athens. City will appear in the game for the very first time having won their maiden Champions League title last term.
Asked to reflect on last season's treble success, City also won the Premier League and FA Cup, Guardiola said: "It is a relief for the club. It's always difficult to win. Of course it is a relief but it is not enough otherwise we would be at home. We are hungry enough to compete and challenge ourselves. If someone wants to take our three crowns they will have to fight to take it."
Opponents Sevilla have won a record seven Europa Leagues and then lost all-but one of the six Super Cups they have contested, but Guardiola said: "Sevilla have special character, it's something in the DNA that makes this team different. They will be dangerous against us.
"You cannot imagine how happy that we are to play the Super Cup because we won the Champions League. Who knows when we will come back here to win this tournament?"