Ilkay Gundogan called for his Manchester City team-mates to rally around Benjamin Mendy after the France left-back’s flying start with the Premier League leaders was curtailed by injury.
Speaking after Tuesday’s 2-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk in Champions League Group F – City’s seventh consecutive win in all competitions – manager Pep Guardiola conceded Mendy was most likely to be sidelined for months by knee damage he sustained during last weekend’s 5-0 thumping of Crystal Palace.
Signed from Monaco for a fee believed to be in the region of £52million in July, Mendy’s dynamic displays on the left flank have made an instant impression at City but he will visit specialist Dr Ramon Cugat in Barcelona on Thursday amid fears he has suffered ligament damage.
A similar fate ended Gundogan’s debut season in England prematurely and the Germany international understandably has ample sympathy with his colleague
“Of course, I spoke to him but not really about the situation. I think he’s a guy who is most disappointed,” Gundogan said.
“Our task now is to support him and just to be there if he needs something from us.
“I know how difficult these kinds of situations are. There’s not really much to talk about at the moment.
“We just should try to behave as normal as possible. We wish him a very speedy recovery and we support him [in] every way.”
Gundogan appeared as a late replacement against Shakhtar, shortly before fellow substitutes Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling combined for the England international to add to Kevin De Bruyne’s sublime opener and make it two wins from two in Europe for Guardiola’s men.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) September 26, 2017
It marked the former Borussia Dortmund man’s first action since his latest injury scare.
During last week’s 2-1 EFL Cup win at West Brom, Gundogan’s first competitive start since tearing his right anterior cruciate ligament against Watford last December, a robust challenge from Claudio Yacob forced the midfielder off in pain.
Tests revealed the 26-year-old merely suffered a knee sprain and he added: “I’m just happy that I returned that quick after that hard tackle.
“I tried to train on the Friday and I still felt a little bit [of pain] in my knee. Saturday [against Palace], it was not possible to be in the squad but I trained Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
“I felt good so I’m just happy to return that quick.”
City travel to take on defending champions Chelsea on their return to Premier League action this weekend.
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