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regular-article-logo Thursday, 23 May 2024

Manchester City's Erling Haaland may miss FA Cup semi-final clash against Chelsea

Guardiola subbed both Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne off ahead of extra time in a surprise move in City’s penalty shootout loss to Real Madrid that extinguished their hopes of capturing the treble for a second successive season

Reuters Manchester Published 20.04.24, 11:13 AM
Manchester City players, in this picture shared by the club on X, sweat it out during a training session on Friday 

Manchester City players, in this picture shared by the club on X, sweat it out during a training session on Friday  X

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is uncertain whether Erling Haaland will feature in Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea after his prolific striker asked to leave Wednesday’s Champions League quarter final with a muscle injury.

Guardiola subbed both Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne off ahead of extra time in a surprise move in City’s penalty shootout loss to Real Madrid that extinguished their hopes of capturing the treble for a second successive season.

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“Erling felt something, a muscular issue,” Guardiola said on Friday. “Kevin felt exhausted, after five months out injured (at the start of the season), so that’s normal.”

It is not surprising, Guardiola added, that his players are feeling the effects of a gruelling schedule.

“It’s normal, with the amount of games we’ve played this season and in the previous seasons,” the Spaniard said. “There’s not much time for recovery. We are not machines.”

City had appeared on pace to become the first team in history to win the treble — Champions League, FA Cup and Premier League — twice before Wednesday’s defeat at the Etihad. They are still on course for the double, having taken a two-point lead atop the league standings last weekend with six games remaining.

Asked how his team can move on from their Champions League heartbreak, Guardiola said: “We don’t have an option, we can’t feel sorry for ourselves.

“We don’t have time to reflect, we’ll do that in the summertime. You compete to win, but sometimes you lose games, and that’s what happened.”

Guardiola’s men will face former City winger Cole Palmer on Saturday at Wembley, following the 21-year-old’s four goals in Chelsea’s 6-0 rout of Everton on Monday that drew him level with Haaland as the league’s top goalscorer this season.

The first question posed to Guardiola at Friday’s news conference was about Palmer, who was sold to Chelsea last year. “He’s an exceptional player,” the manager said.

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