MANCHESTER CITY face being without star man Kevin de Bruyne for upto six weeks – after his hamstring injury turned out to be worse than first feared.
The Belgian international had to be subbed during the second half of the 2-0 win over Aston Villa on Wednesday night.
However City got the results of the scan back on Friday morning and they showed he will be out for at least a month – and maybe longer.
That means he is likely to miss at least eight matches in what is a packed schedule for Pep Guardiola’s men.
The Etihad boss said: “The doctor said we’ll review the scan today which we’ve done and it will be between four and six weeks out.
“It is a blow but we have to move forward. I’m not saying anything people don’t know about how important he is, but unfortunately for an important part of the season he is out.
“We have to find a solution as everyone is struggling and we have to adapt.”
Guardiola suggested City’s hectic run of games since the November international break has finally taken its toll.
He said: “There are many reasons why one team is champions, and having healthy players is important.
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“But It’s impossible to demand they are fit for 11 months playing every three days impossible. There are injuries at all the clubs.
“We knew it, we’ve tried to avoid it but they are human beings. This amount of competitions, the body says it’s enough.”
It is the second setback this week for Guardiola after striker Sergio Aguero tested positive for Covid.
City hope he will return to training before next weekend – but it will very much depend how he recovers.
Guardiola added: “What we wish is for him to feel better, he felt uncomfortable for two or three days after a positive test, tired and some symptoms.
“But he feels well and we want him to come back. For a long time we’ve missed our best striker. Like with Kevin we will have to manage until they come back.”
Defender Kyle Walker misses the FA Cup tie at Cheltenham on Saturday after injuring his hip against Villa – but Guardiola does not consider the injury to be serious.
Aymeric Laporte and Eric Garcia also return to the squad but summer signing Nathan Ake remains sidelined.