Premier League leaders Manchester City will be without injured defenders Kyle Walker and John Stones for Saturday’s trip to Leeds United, with the former possibly out for the season, manager Pep Guardiola said. The Spaniard told reporters on Friday that England international Stones could miss next week’s Champions League semi-final second leg at Real Madrid after limping off in the 4-3 win at the Etihad. “For tomorrow he’s out and we’ll see for Wednesday,” said Guardiola.
João Cancelo is back from suspension to fill in at right back, however. City are a point clear of Liverpool at the top of the standings but could be behind by the time they play at Elland Road, with their rivals in the early kickoff at Newcastle United. Leeds are 16th but five points clear of the drop zone and unbeaten in their last five matches. They lost 7-0 at City in December.
Guardiola congratulated Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp on signing a new contract keeping him at Anfield until 2026, but said that would have no bearing on whether he extended his own deal with City. “Why should it make an impact? Everyone has his situation, if we decide to stay longer it’s because together we decided, not because my colleague Jürgen extends his contract or not. I don’t see the relation,” he said. “I think it’s really good for the Premier League he extend the contract.”
Guardiola, who joined City in 2016, said he was focused on the next few weeks and the title battle and had no time for talks about his own future. “I have the feeling that one year is a long time, so we are six seasons together,” he said.
“I’m enjoying this part of the season and after, we have time. We have an incredible relationship with my club, my chairman, CEO, sporting director.
“You know my opinion. I am incredibly happy, I could not be in a better place in my life to work in right now than here. I cannot visualise a better place. But it’s not just about me, it’s about many things.”
The manager said Leeds would be tough opponents, with a passionate crowd, but his players knew what they had to do. “I have a lot of respect,” he said of Jesse Marsch’s side. “We accept the challenge and we know exactly what you have to do and we are going to try and do it.”