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Pep Guardiola reveals he ‘doesn’t know’ when Erling Haaland will return from injury for Man CIty

Pep Guardiola

Erling Haaland is set to miss Manchester City’s fixture against Crystal Palace this weekend, as Pep Guardiola admitted he ‘does not know’ when the striker will return to fitness.

The striker picked up a foot injury which kept him out of last week’s Premier League victory over Luton and their midweek Champions League win over Red Star Belgrade.

Man City host Crystal Palace at the Etihad Stadium at 3pm on Saturday – but Haaland is likely to play no part in it. Guardiola also expressed doubts as to whether Haaland would be available for the club’s upcoming Club World Cup fixtures.

Haaland may have to sit their fixture against Palace out

The side are set to travel to Saudi Arabia for their semi-final fixture on December 19. Their opponents will be determined on Tuesday once the previous round of matches has been completed.

They will then contest either the final or the third-place play-off on December 22. Guardiola said: “Hopefully he can travel to Saudi [for the Club World Cup], whether he can play the first game or the second, I don’t know,”

He added: “It is not a fracture, just stress. Sometimes players recover quickly, some longer. Day by day, week by week, we see how he feels. The moment he doesn’t have pain he will play.”

Guardiola said Haaland’s fitness would be assessed by club doctors on Friday afternoon ahead of the weekend’s fixture. But despite Haaland’s absence, Manchester City have proved there are no shortage of young players who could step into the striker’s shoes.

Hamilton scored on his debut for Manchester City in Serbia

In their victory over Red Star Belgrade, 20-year-olds Micah Hamilton and Oscar Bobb provided goals for Manchester City.

Guardiola said this proved the importance proving the importance of a strong academy as a foundation for the team. He said: “For all the big clubs, the academy is an important part of many things.

“We just see what happened in the last five or six years with academy players. They help us or they make a career away with a good transfer for the club to be sustainable economically.

“I know how important it is for our fans, our people to identify the young lads like Rico (Lewis), Phil (Foden), Micah as well. Coming from being seven, eight, nine years old and being in the first team is something phenomenal.

“We continue to work on that and hopefully in future we can have more players like this.”

Manchester City will look to rebuild their season against Crystal Palace, having not won a Premier League game in four matches before their victory at Kenilworth Road. Crystal Palace are having a disappointing run and are winless in their last five Premier League matches.

Roy Hodgson

But Guardiola said he was expecting Roy Hodgson’s side to provide a huge challenge.

“It has always been a tough game,” Guardiola said. “How they defend is brilliant and they don’t need much at set-pieces with (Joachim) Anderson and the other guys.

“I don’t remember easy games against Roy Hodgson teams. With Patrick (Vieira) also, but especially with Roy.”

“They played incredibly well against Liverpool, unfortunately they had a player sent off and with 10 against 11 against Liverpool it is almost impossible, but 11 against 11 I don’t know what would have happened.”

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