Erling Haaland still a doubt for Manchester City's clash with Young Boys


Erling Haaland of Manchester City during the Premier League match between Manchester City and AFC Bournemouth at Etihad Stadium on November 4, 2023 in Manchester, England.

Erling Haaland remains a fitness doubt for holders Manchester City's Champions League clash with Young Boys tomorrow.

The prolific Norway striker was withdrawn at half-time of Saturday's Premier League victory over Bournemouth with a twisted ankle.

The player was due to be assessed after a training session on Monday afternoon.

Asked if Haaland would be fit for the game, manager Pep Guardiola said: "We train this afternoon. We will speak with the doctor. I don't know.

"Yesterday he told me he felt much better than the day of the game but I don't know."

With City closing in on qualification for the last 16, there could be a temptation to rest Haaland ahead of Sunday's trip to Chelsea anyway.

Guardiola, however, insists he will give the forward time to prove his fitness.

The City boss said: "I will listen to the doctors. If he says he is ready and does not have pain I will consider him to play because from Tuesday to Sunday there's a lot (of time), it is not Wednesday."

City, who have won their first three matches in Group G, will qualify for the knockout stages with two games to spare if they beat the Swiss champions for a second time.

Guardiola said: "Tomorrow we will try to finish and qualify for February and the next stage. It means a lot to the club. Being there is a success."

Securing their place in the next stage at the earliest opportunity would potentially also allow Guardiola the chance to rotate his squad for the remaining group games.

City's next outing in the competition, at home to RB Leipzig on November 28, comes between crunch Premier League fixtures against Liverpool and Tottenham.

Yet Guardiola maintains he will not ease up until top spot in the group has been finalised.

He said: "You have to try to finish first. We have the chance to play the second game (of the last 16) at home and that is definitely better. It's game by game."

Guardiola did not want to get drawn into a debate when quizzed on the Premier League's latest VAR controversy.

Arsenal branded the standard of officiating in the competition as "unacceptable" over the weekend after they lost to a contentious goal at Newcastle.

Gunners manager Mikel Arteta had said the decision to allow Newcastle's winner, after a triple VAR check, was an "absolute disgrace".

Guardiola said: "The emotion after the game, it is difficult for the managers right after we finish, being here and talking about the feelings. It's difficult to handle it.

"But I'm talking for myself. I'm not talking for Mikel or for any other manager.

"It's so sensitive an issue right now. It's difficult for the referees too, for everyone. Honestly I don't have a clear opinion."

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