Manchester - Manchester City have been dealt a blow after
German midfielder Ilkay Gundogan sustained a knee injury that manager Pep
Guardiola fears will sideline him for "several months".
The Germany international had to be substituted in the 44th
minute of City's 2-0 Premier League win over Watford at the Etihad Stadium on
Wednesday after an accidental collision with Nordin Amrabat.
Guardiola revealed afterwards he had sustained suspected
knee ligament damage.
"We are going to miss him for a long time," said
Guardiola. "This is the worst news.
"I'm so so sad. The doctors think he has ligament
damage, but he doesn't know exactly (how serious it is).
"We will know tomorrow (Thursday), but it doesn't look
good. I think it will be several months. He is so sad about it."
Gundogan, 26, joined City from Borussia Dortmund in June for
a reported fee of 20 million ($25.1 million, 23.8 million euros).
He had dislocated his kneecap in May while training with
Germany, which ruled him out of Euro 2016.
Spinal surgery had previously cost him the entire 2013-14
Initially sidelined after undergoing surgery at the end of
last season, he has impressed since making his debut in a 4-0 Champions League
win over Borussia Moenchengladbach on September 14.
Also read: Man City sign Germany's Gundogan
To date Gundogan has made 15 appearances for City in all
competitions, scoring five goals.
His injury cast a long shadow over a home victory for City
-- their first since beating Bournemouth on September 17 -- that was secured by
goals from Pablo Zabaleta and David Silva
- Zabaleta 'spirit' -
"Football is emotional when you don't get the results
you expect," said Guardiola, whose side had lost to Chelsea and Leicester
City in their two previous league games.
"The last three or four games at home weren't good in
terms of results, but today we won.
"We are going to analyse the result, but we have to
focus on the result because today the players showed me again the form they
showed at the beginning of the season.
"From here, the players are going to take more
confidence. I'm pretty sure of that, especially with the players we have to
"And I am happy with the clean sheet, but I am so sad
for Ilkay Gundogan."
Zabaleta echoed his manager's comments about the importance
of the victory after scoring his first goal in over two years.
"It has been a long time without a win playing at home.
It has been strange," he said.
"We had the clean sheet we've been talking about and
were solid defensively."
Zabaleta is out of contract at the end of the current season
and not expected to remain with the club, but Guardiola paid tribute to the
veteran Argentinian defender.
"We need his spirit. He is part of this history and
played well with and without the ball," said the former Barcelona and
Bayern Munich coach.
"On the pitch and in the dressing room he is important
Watford manager Walter Mazzarri has injury concerns of his
own after midfielder Roberto Pereyra came off after half an hour.
"The problem is his knee," said the Italian.
"And we need to understand what it is exactly, because we still don't
know. We will know in the next few days."
Mazzarri chose to rest striker Troy Deeney ahead of the
weekend clash with Sunderland, handing a first start to 20-year-old Jerome
Sinclair, a 4 million close-season signing from Liverpool.
"We have had three games in a week and also Troy has
four yellow cards," said Mazzarri. "Also I wanted to get him in good
condition and be ready for the game against Sunderland.
"Jerome worked a lot for the team, and the entire
squad. He sacrificed a lot. He was a reason they didn't have many goal
opportunities. He did very important work all around the pitch."For
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