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Dias ruled out of Man City’s crucial week


Burnley (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Pep Guardiola has revealed Portugal defender Ruben Dias will miss Manchester City’s vital matches against Atletico Madrid and Liverpool next week.

Dias has already been sidelined for a month with a thigh injury and City boss Guardiola fears his centre-back might not return for another two weeks.

Premier League leaders City visit Burnley on Saturday before hosting Atletico in the Champions League quarter-final first leg on Tuesday.

They face title rivals Liverpool in Manchester on April 10 in a potentially decisive Premier League clash before heading to Madrid for the Champions League second leg three days later.

Asked how long Dias could be out, Guardiola told reporters on Friday: “I don’t know, the doctor said four to six weeks.

“I think it’s four now, (from) March 1, now it’s April 1. I think we need 10 days or two weeks more but everything is going well.”

With Dias ruled out at such a pivotal period in City’s treble chase, Guardiola was relieved to learn John Stones has been passed fit after withdrawing from the England squad last week with an injury.

Stones pulled up injured in the warm-up prior to last Saturday’s friendly against Switzerland, but Guardiola did not list the centre-back among the absentees for the Burnley match.

City could be knocked off the top of the table for the first time since December before they play on Saturday as second placed Liverpool host Watford a few hours earlier.

That would apply further pressure to City, who have dropped seven points in their last seven matches, but Guardiola insists his side will not change their approach.

“Why? At the end of the weekend we will know the position we are in,” said Guardiola, whose team sit one point above Liverpool with nine games left.

“Even going points in front or points behind, we have to do our job. Nothing changes.”

If City are to win the treble, they will have to survive a daunting fixture list in April, with an FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool looming on April 16.

“We have a lot of games, eight or potentially nine games in this month and for every one we’ll select the best team to win the games,” Guardiola said.

“It’s not the first time we’ve faced it and will do again. It means what we’ve done so far we’ve done incredibly well. It’s because we are in all competitions.”

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