Pep Guardiola has no idea if he could spare star striker Erling Haaland in Manchester City’s Champions League duel at FC Copenhagen.
City defeated the Danish champions 5-0 in a one-sided encounter at the Etihad Stadium last week, with Haaland scoring twice.
Guardiola’s side can secure a place in the last 16 with a win in the second leg at the Parken Stadium on Tuesday.
But with a trip to Liverpool to prepare for at the weekend, the City manager could be tempted to change his squad.
Haaland has started all of City’s 13 games in all competitions this season, scoring 19 goals.
At his pre-match press conference on Monday, Guardiola said: “Tomorrow I will decide what the team selection looks like.
“I have to talk to the players, physiotherapists and doctors and decide what’s best. Then we’ll see.
“It’s true that in the last 25 to 30 minutes, when things get tight, fatigue and the risk of injury increase. But lately we’ve been lucky to score in the first half and early in the second, after that we can rotate.
“But it’s not just about resting players because of fatigue, it’s about getting everyone involved. I like it when everyone can contribute to the team and play as well as possible and reach the best level.”
One area of the team where Guardiola has made frequent changes this season has been in defence.
Aymeric Laporte was injured earlier in the season and John Stones and Kyle Walker are both currently sidelined.
With Nathan Ake also struggling with fitness throughout his time at City and Ruben Dias knocked out with a stroke at the end of last season, it’s been some time since there has been a consistent back four.
Manuel Akanji was signed on deadline day in recognition of the troubles City had in the area.
Guardiola said: “I would like to have the same back four but the players we have cannot be fit every three days. Other teams might be able to do that, but we can’t.
“John Stones can’t, Nathan can’t, Ruben struggled last season, Ayme has come back from a serious injury.
“For us it’s important that everyone can play and everyone can perform well if you want to be in all the titles we’re fighting for plus the World Cup, to be in that position to the end. Otherwise it is so difficult.”
Guardiola was joined for pre-match media duties by centre-back Ake, who is happy to have been given some chances this season after being linked with a move in the summer.
The Dutchman said: “So far I’m satisfied. Of course I started the season with a few games. I had a bit of a setback with the injury but luckily it wasn’t that bad.
“I’m making good progress and I hope to continue like this. I am very happy to be here. Football can be weird at times and things can happen, but in the end I’m very glad I stayed.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/pep-guardiola-erling-haaland-nathan-ake-manchester-city-etihad-stadium-b2199781.html Pep Guardiola wonders whether Erling Haaland will be spared against FC Copenhagen