Pep Guardiola remains doubtful on the availability of Manchester City winger, Raheem Sterling for their Champions League clash with Real Madrid.
The Spanish boss believes the Englishman will remain on the sidelines for weeks due to injury is unsure if he will be fit in time for the clash with the Laliga giants.
Sterling suffered a hamstring injury in the Citizens Premier League defeat to Tottenham and has been ruled out of City’s weekend clash with West Ham.
The extent of the injury to the England International remains unknown, and former Barcelona boss, Guardiola couldn’t say for sure what date the winger is expected to return.
After the game against the Hammers, the Citizens winter break swings into full action before their League game against Leicester City. Their Champions League clash with Real Madrid then comes up some four days later.
Losing a big-match player and potential match-winner could be a huge blow to City’s chances of knocking out Real Madrid in the last-16.
When asked about the situation with Sterling, Guardiola said:
“Of course it takes weeks, but we will see before Leicester, Madrid and the rest of the games. I don’t know right now.
“It is a problem. [Injuries are] always a problem, but it is what it is.”
The injury to Sterling leaves Guardiola short on wide attackers with Sane still out with the cruciate knee ligament injury he suffered since City’s community shield encounter with Liverpool in August.
The German has returned back to training but Guardiola has stressed that the Bayern Munich target will not be rushed back into action ahead of schedule.
“He’s started to train with us, he is still not there,” he said of the former Schalke star. “When you have an injury, especially this one for six months, you need to recover, tempo, rhythm, confidence in your knee, and don’t think about the injury.
“He needs time, it’s not a case of him training and he will then immediately be there, it’s not like an ankle or a muscular injury. This injury it needs time.
“He needs weeks. What’s important is the surgery was perfect and he’s recovering incredibly well, he’ll come back stronger than before but now he needs a little bit of time.”