Pep Guardiola demands more protection for players as Manchester City lose Kevin De Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus to injury

has confirmed will be out for just over a month after going off injured in ’s 0-0 draw at , and that is likely to miss the home game against Watford on Tuesday, but that his team are “lucky” they have not suffered worse injuries sooner due to some of the challenges they faced in what he insists is a problem the authorities must look at “for all players”.

De Bruyne was the victim of a poor foul from late on in the game and, although his injury may not be as bad as initially feared given that he left Selhurst Park without the need for crutches, the Catalan said they would only know for certain on Monday.

“Gabriel will be out for maybe a little more than one month,” Guardiola said of Jesus, who did leave the stadium on crutches. “Kevin, we will see tomorrow, if it is a kick or something else…hopefully it is just a huge kick. Maybe he will not be ready for Watford game in two days.

“We were lucky in recent games. It is the same. I admire the physicality of the league, but the referees have to protect the players. It is all I am asking.”

The City boss had been asked about a curious moment when it seemed City weren’t allowed to send a physio on to treat Jesus and, while he said he didn’t see it, he did use the question as an opportunity to call for a reassessment of the constant focus on diving over physical challenges. Guardiola asserted that it is something that needs to change, as he referenced fouls on De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan in the recent matches against Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United, respectively.

“No…[I didn’t see that]. That’s the ‘culture’. Everybody’s diving. Protect the players, guys, that’s all,” he said.

“They [the authorities] know what they have to do,” Guardiola added, as he confirmed he hadn’t spoken to the FA on the issue. “People focus on diving, this kind of thing, OK… but not Man City players, all the league. I know is allowed here more than any other country, which is OK. But there are limits. We were lucky against Tottenham, with Kevin, we were lucky against Newcastle, Gundogan…Protect all the players please from situations that are dangerous.

“They don‘t have to change how they play. It is why it is so nice here. There is one line but where you go beyond it, that is dangerous. The referee has to follow the rules and protect the players. Sometimes football is faster and the actions, the players don‘t want to hurt the opponent. But players could be out for a long time and they don‘t deserve that.”

“We were lucky in the recent past. That’s the environment. I admire the physicality of the league, but…protect all the players please.”

Guardiola now potentially has a greater selection issue in attack than at any point this season, especially with David Silva still out due to personal reasons. The Catalan said he didn’t know when he’ll be back.

“I don‘t know if he will be ready or back,” he said. “Personal things are more important than any other situations.”

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