Man City's John Stones out for four to six weeks injured - Pep Guardiola
LEICESTER -- Pep Guardiola fears that John Stones will be out for up to six weeks after he pulled his hamstring in the 2-0 win over Leicester City.
The defender hobbled off in the 31st minute after he pulled up chasing a long ball. His injury will be a major blow to Guardiola, who is already expected to be without left back Benjamin Mendy for most of the season, and the Catalan coach seemed to think the injury was down to a punishing schedule after playing two full matches for England during the international break.
"He will be out for a long time, I think -- a muscular problem -- maybe four to six weeks," Guardiola told a news conference. "The only problem is we have a lot games and John was in that moment -- the way he played with the ball and without it, leading the back four.
"He was almost perfect and of course we are going to miss him like we missed Vincent [Kompany] for the last two and a half months. But hopefully Vincent can be safe for the future. Nico [Otamendi] was suspended so we had not too many options.
"Before the international friendly games, John played 90 minutes, 90 minutes, 90 minutes and then another 90 minutes, 90 minutes and the body is the body. "We demand a lot from the players, UEFA and FIFA, that's why you have to have bigger squad to rotate it otherwise it's possible to sustain it every three days.
"I understand Gareth Southgate, he has to prepare the team for the World Cup in Russia. It's what it is. He's the manager and he can take his decisions.There's a lot of minutes in his legs and this kind of situation can happen but I understand Gareth taking the decision best for them."
City do have at least have Kompany back after he made his first start for two-and-a-half months following his recovery from a calf strain. However, they could have lost him barely four minutes into the match when he brought Jamie Vardy down, with manager Claude Puel believing he should have been sent off.
"We know this [City] team -- they are the best team in Europe," the Frenchman said. "We started very well with good moves and good organisation. It was a good 30 or so minutes.
"[Kompany] deserved a red card. It is not possible to come back after the decision, it is important to look forward and keep good focus and concentration. We know we can do better."
City face Feyenoord in the Champions League on Tuesday and Guardiola says he will make plenty of changes to his starting lineup with their place in the round-of-16 already guaranteed.
"I'm going to be honest we want to finish first," Guardiola added. "I demand the players win the game. We have a good squad. The players who didn't play today are going to play the next game. I have to think about it but of course Bernardo, Danilo, Yaya and Gundogan is going to play."
Jonathan is ESPN FC's Manchester City correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @jonnysmiffy.