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De Bruyne back in training as Guardiola eyes ´best´ Champions League preparation at Brighton

SoccerNews in English Premier League 17 May 2021

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Kevin De Bruyne will travel with Manchester City for their game at Brighton and Hove Albion, as Pep Guardiola insisted focus is not a problem for his team with the Champions League final looming.

De Bruyne has not featured since his starring role in City’s 4-1 aggregate Champions League semi-final triumph over Paris Saint-Germain due to a muscular complaint.

But the Belgium playmaker is set to return to action for the recently crowned Premier League champions when they face Brighton at the Amex Stadium on Tuesday.

City round off their domestic campaign at home to Everton on Sunday, before attention turns to the Champions League final against Chelsea in Porto.

“Yeah, he’s been training for the last two days, he feels good,” Guardiola told a pre-match news conference of De Bruyne.

“Kevin is important like everyone is important. When we are able to stick together and push each other, it is possible to win.

“Everyone knows it but everyone is at the same level, we will see his level and see if he is fit to play the next games.”

Guardiola handed a belated City debut to 35-year-old goalkeeper Scott Carson in last Friday’s 4-3 victory over Newcastle United, where his side twice came from behind and Ferran Torres’ hat-trick secured an English league record 12th consecutive away win, although Ederson will return for the season conclusion.

A two-time winner in the Champions League going back to his time with Barcelona, Guardiola insisted focus would not be a problem for his side over the coming week.

“We will have six days to focus on the final after the Everton game. Now it is the Brighton game,” he said.

“If you are working to prepare for Brighton, you are working the best way as possible to prepare for the final.

“I’m pretty sure we cannot prepare the final of the Champions League if we are not ready for Brighton or Everton. We did not speak one second about Chelsea.

“Tomorrow we’ll play to win again and this is the best way to arrive to the final. In the six days, we’ll be more focused on Chelsea.”

Chelsea’s 1-0 defeat to Arsenal last week and Liverpool’s dramatic win over West Brom on Sunday means the Blues’ top-four qualification hopes are in the balance.

Thomas Tuchel’s side face the prospect of high-pressure encounters against Leicester City, their weekend conquerors in the FA Cup final, and Aston Villa.

“I don’t know,” Guardiola replied when asked whether the contrasting workload for his team would be an advantage or a disadvantage.  

“I won’t be in the locker room for Chelsea. I’m only concerned about what we have to do in these two games.

“In these 10 or 12 days we will prepare these two games and the final as best as possible. I don’t know if that is better or not.”

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