Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has moved to calm fears that Erling Haaland could miss the Club World Cup after confirming the striker has not suffered a break in his foot.
The Norwegian frontman was forced to miss their 2-1 victory over Luton Town on Sunday through injury, just weeks after suffering a knock on international duty, and Guardiola revealed that the 23-year-old has been suffering from a “bone stress reaction”.
However, the City coach will be relieved to discover that there was no fracture, which could have kept him out for weeks, but he may be forced to miss their next league fixture against Crystal Palace.
“He was not ready today, I don’t think so for Crystal Palace [on Saturday] but hopefully he can be ready in Saudi Arabia,” Guardiola said. “Week by week will dictate how he feels.”
City’s manager explained the problem was incurred during the midweek loss to Aston Villa. “The day after he almost could not walk properly,” he added.
Erling Haaland’s potential injury return date
The treble winners have two more matches to navigate before they travel to Saudi Arabia, with Crvena Zvezda next in the Champions League in four days’ time and welcome Palace to the Etihad Stadium on December 16.
“Yesterday I spoke with him and he said he was feeling much, much better, that he could walk without pain. The doctor says we have to see week by week, day by day how it will get better.
“Maybe he will be ready for Crystal Palace, I don’t think so but we will see.”
Guardiola names Haaland replacement
“We play with 11, that’s for sure. Erling has been very important since he arrived. But throughout the season we see these kinds of things. Injuries, suspensions, problems, we have to adapt.”
Guardiola also confirmed Julian Alvarez, who hasn’t found the net in the league since October, will be entrusted to lead the line in Haaland’s absence.
City were forced to come behind to overcome Luton at Kenilworth Road, with goals coming from midfield duo Bernardo Silva and Jack Grealish to complete the fightback after Elijah Adebayo‘s opener.
The result brings an end to their four-game run without a win and keeps City in the conversation for the title, although Guardiola‘s men are four points behind leaders Liverpool with 16 games played.