Football

Stones injury no one's fault: Pep

Pep Guardiola refused to blame England manager Gareth Southgate for John Stones' injury absence from Manchester City's Premier League title charge until the New Year.

Stones is expected to be out of action for up to six weeks after damaging a hamstring in City's 2-0 win at Leicester City on Saturday, leaving Guardiola with some defensive concerns.

But the City boss did not point the finger at Southgate for playing the influential Stones for every minute of England's friendlies against Germany and Brazil during the international break.

"I understand Gareth Southgate. He's preparing the team for the World Cup in Russia," said Guardiola, whose side won through goals from Gabriel Jesus and Kevin de Bruyne.

"We demand a lot in the calendar from the players.

"That is why we have to have a bigger squad. As managers, we have to take these decisions."

Guardiola had to press skipper Vincent Kompany into a comeback at the King Power Stadium after a two-month layoff with a calf injury.

Nicolas Otamendi was suspended against Leicester but will be available against Feyenoord in the Champions League on Wednesday morning (Singapore time).

With 11 wins and a draw from their first 12 EPL games, City have equalled the record start they made to their 2011/12 title triumph under Roberto Mancini. - AFP

Football