Kevin de Bruyne

Kevin de Bruyne’s injury is a product of Manchester City’s gruelling schedule, says manager Pep Guardiola.

The Belgian was forced off the pitch during the Sky Blues’ 1-0 victory at Bournemouth on Saturday.

John Stones also left the pitch nursing an knock as the champions’ demanding recent fixture list took its toll on Guardiola’s high-flying squad.

And the manager worries that the expectations placed on his team are only going to take a higher physical toll as the season heads towards its climax.

“John, I think, is more a precaution, we’ll see tomorrow,’ said Guardiola. “He was a little bit tight, he didn’t feel good, and we didn’t take risks. Hopefully it has not a big issue,” he said.

“And Kevin has something with his hamstring. I don’t know (how long he will be out), tomorrow we’ll know exactly.

“But it’s normal, my friends. We played 25 games in, I think, 93 days. It means every three days and a little bit more we play one game, so it’s a physiological issue.

“These guys we demand play in that way every three days when the body is not already recovered, and of course sometimes the muscles say, ‘hello, it’s enough’.”

Despite the injury set-backs, City cantered to a comfortable win away at Bournemouth, Riyad Mahrez’s second-half goal helping the champions to the result they needed in order to return to the top of the league.

In a hugely one-sided affair, the Cherries became just the fourth team since Opta records began not to register a single effort on goal.

“We make an incredible performance today, one of the best performances we ever played,” said Guardiola. “We didn’t concede one shot on target.

“Every time we lose the ball, we had three or four guys going there to pick up and recover the ball and play.

“They (Bournemouth) were incredibly well organised, 11 players in the box, there were really no spaces, and we found them.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen at the end of the season but these players deserve all my admiration, all my respect.

“It’s incredible how good they played today. Today is a special moment for all of us.”

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