Sport Soccer

Monday 24 July 2017

Ilkay Gundogan set for extended spell on sidelines

Ilkay Gundogan looks set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines
Ilkay Gundogan looks set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines

Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan is set to miss several months of action after suffering a bad knee injury during Wednesday's 2-0 win over Watford.

The German midfielder jarred his right knee in the first half at the Etihad Stadium and after unsuccessfully trying to play on, came off in clear distress just before the break.

Gundogan dislocated his right knee cap last spring and spent several months in recovery prior to joining City, whose boss Guardiola expects more bad news for the player.

"I'm so, so sad and unhappy for what happened to Ilkay Gundogan. We're going to miss him I think for a long time, it is the worst news from the day," he said.

Asked if the player was looking at a prolonged spell out of the side Guardiola said: "The doctor supposes yes but we will know tomorrow. I think so.

"Tomorrow we will know exactly the diagnosis. It looks like it will not be good.

"He is sad, so sad."

Gundogan's team-mate Pablo Zabaleta, who opened the scoring for his side with his first goal in two years, commiserated with the former Borussia Dortmund man.

"Yes it looks bad. Same knee," he said.

"He will have a scan and we will see how bad it is but we feel so sorry for him because it has been quite tough for him at the beginning of the season.

"He has been working so hard and he was playing well. Unfortunately it is the same knee but you have to keep strong and we will see how bad it is."

Gundogan's injury will attract most attention but it was not the only one of the evening.

Watford's Roberto Pereyra suffered a similar-looking problem and, like Gundogan, attempted to play on before admitting defeat.

Hornets boss Walter Mazzarri said: "I asked him if he felt a twist in the knee, they (medical staff) told me it was a knock and that's the reason he went back on the pitch. Now, I'm not sure.

"We have not been lucky with injuries recently and it's not an easy moment for us. We're not happy with the injury for Pereyra and hopefully he is back soon. We will verify in the next few days."

Fitness updates ultimately stole some of the spotlight from a much-needed result for City, who remain seven points off top spot.

They had not won a home league match since September 17 and failed to keep a clean sheet in their last eight matches.

David Silva eventually made the points safe in the 86th minute but it was Zabaleta who made an unlikely - but well-received - match-winner thanks to his neat near-post volley.

Reflecting on his captain's contribution, Guardiola said: "We need his spirit, he is part of this club's history and played well with and without the ball. On the pitch and in the dressing room he is important for us."

Press Association

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