• Monday, July 22, 2024
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Man City’s Sterling doubtful for English League Cup final


Raheem Sterling is struggling to be fit for Manchester City’s English League Cup final against Arsenal on Sunday but Gabriel Jesus could return, club manager Pep Guardiola said on Friday.


“He had a muscular problem. I don’t know if he will be ready for Sunday,” Guardiola said of forward Sterling as he looked ahead to his first final match as Manchester City manager.


There was better news on Brazilian forward Jesus who has not played since the final day of 2017, having suffered a knee injury, with Guardiola saying he is improving every day.


“Having Gabriel Jesus back soon is such a big boost to us. You need all the players, like the full backs, to be fit and available,” he said.


Guardiola is bidding to win his first trophy for Manchester City.


But, in spite of the importance of the occasion, he said he has not been tempted to reverse his policy of playing second-choice goalkeeper Claudio Bravo in Cup games.


The Colombian will start in goal at Wembley on Sunday with Brazil’s Ederson on the bench.


“Every fan has his own opinion, but I am the manager and we are here for Claudio. Without him, we are not here,” Guardiola said.


Manchester City will be without Fabian Delph for the final match after he was red-carded against Wigan Athletic, where they were surprisingly beaten in the FA Cup fifth round on Monday.


That result, Guardiola said, will need to be put out of their minds against Arsenal.


“I always say I prefer to play a final match having won a game,” said the Spaniard, who won 11 of his 12 Cup final matches during his spells as manager of FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich.


“I would love to have not dropped out of the English FA Cup but we have to stand up, recover and focus on the next game.”