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Guardiola has "no idea" about length of Sterling absence as Sané nears return


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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola concedes he could be without Raheem Sterling for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with Real Madrid. 

The England forward limped out of last week's defeat to Tottenham, with City confirming Sterling had suffered an injury to his left hamstring.

Sterling will definitely miss Sunday's Premier League meeting with West Ham, and Guardiola says they'll continue to assess the injury ahead of the February 22 trip to Leicester.

City travel to the Bernabeu on February 26, and while he has "no idea" over the timescale for Sterling's recovery, Guardiola says hamstring injuries of that nature "take weeks".

The City boss feels his tenure in charge so far shows he can cope with such injury blows, "It's a problem, but it's a problem when we were without Gundogan [for] six months in the first year, and Laporte this season [for] four or five months so it's always a problem."

With Sterling set for a spell on the sidelines, Guardiola could do with a return to fitness for Leroy Sané.

The German international has been out of commission since sustaining a cruciate ligament injury in the Community Shield win over Liverpool in August.

Sané underwent surgery to fix the problem in Austria, but Guardiola sounded a positive note on his comeback ahead of the West Ham game, "He's started to train with us."

The Catalan has asked for patience with Sané, saying "he needs weeks" before he's back at full speed, "When you have an injury - especially this one - for six months, it's not training one week and immediately you are there.

"So you need to recover the rhythm, the tempo, the confidence in your body in your knee, you know don't think about the injury. It needs time.

"It's not like an ankle for example or a muscular injury. These injuries in the knee it always takes time."

City go into this weekend's game at the Etihad having suffered defeats in each of their past two games, including a Carabao Cup defeat to neighbours Manchester United.


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Champions League Leroy Sané Liverpool Manchester City Pep Guardiola Premier League Raheem Sterling Real Madrid UEFA Champions League West Ham

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