Pep Guardiola claimed the four Manchester City players who were dropped from the squad for Wednesday’s Premier League game against Brighton & Hove Albion have all picked up injuries since the weekend.
Ruben Dias, Manuel Akanji, Aymeric Laporte and Jack Grealish were involved in the matchday squad on Sunday as City beat Chelsea 1-0 in the final home match of the campaign, with Guardiola’s men then collecting the Premier League trophy after the match, before enjoying a celebratory party in Manchester city centre that night.
But since then, the quartet have all suffered fresh knocks Guardiola revealed. “They are not fit,” he said on Sky Sports ahead of the Brighton encounter. “I don’t know what happened. Many players after they won the Premier League got injured.
“Three, four, five, they are not fit. No Ayme, no Akanji, no Ruben, no Grealish. We will see how they recover in the next days.”
Meanwhile, City sources have described the decision to leave the four players out as ‘precautionary’. It’s particularly crucial for the champions who have finals against Manchester United and Inter Milan on the horizon in the FA Cup and Champions League respectively.
Nathan Ake was also omitted from the squad on Wednesday, although that was expected given he has struggled with a hamstring injury over recent weeks. With Dias, Akanji, Laporte and Ake all missing, Guardiola was forced to name Rodri at centre-back at the Amex. Youngsters Shea Charles, Nico O’Reilly, Alex Robinson and Ben Knight were also named in the City squad.