Man City V Man Utd at Etihad Stadium : Match Preview

26 April 2017

Pep Guardiola says David Silva is a major doubt for Manchester derby

Manchester City playmaker David Silva is a major doubt for Thursday's derby against Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium, manager Pep Guardiola has said.

The Spain international was forced off after just 23 minutes of Sunday's FA Cup semi-final loss to Arsenal with a hamstring injury, having been hit hard by a tackle from Gabriel moments earlier.

Striker Sergio Aguero has a better chance of featuring despite suffering a knock in the same game, while only match-fitness is now holding fellow forward Gabriel Jesus back.

Jesus, who scored three goals in four starts after joining the club in January, has been out since breaking a bone in his foot in February.

Guardiola said: "David Silva is a real, real doubt, I don't know if he will be ready to play after what happened in the first minutes in the semi-final of the FA Cup.

"Gabriel has no pain at all, so is ready but has had three months out, so his physical condition is not optimal.

"Sergio is much better. Today he makes a short part of the training session, tomorrow we will wait (and see)."

The stakes are high in the third Manchester derby meeting of the season, with Champions League qualification points on the line.

City, fourth in the Premier League, are just a point ahead of their arch-rivals, who have not lost in the competition since October, in a tight battle.

Guardiola said: "They are good, good rivals, good quality, in good form. They've had big series without defeat in the Premier League. They have a lot of quality, history. We're looking forward to the game."

Meanwhile, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho insists it is "a waste of time" to speak about Zlatan Ibrahimovic, with the striker likely to be out for several months.

The Swede's contract at Old Trafford expires at the end of the season and, with the knee ligament damage sustained in last week's Europa League win over Anderlecht likely to sideline him until well into next season, the 35-year-old's future has been thrown into doubt.

However, Mourinho, who suffered another injury blow ahead of Thursday's game with the news midfielder Paul Pogba is out with a muscle injury, refused to discuss what comes next for the striker.

"Now he has important surgery, so I think it is a waste of time to speak about what comes next," said the United manager.

"I don't know, I don't want to know, I'm not interested in it, I don't care about it. I just want the difficult surgery to go well.

"The future is a big surgery, long period of recovery.

"But the future is also in the hands of a very strong guy, mentally very strong who wrote immediately in his social media he will stop when he wants, not when people think, so it looks to me that he is not going to give up, he is going to fight and I am really pleased with that. That is the Zlatan I know.

"I told him, 'You've fought all your life', so I don't see a reason not to fight.

"We think he is in fabulous hands and he has to recover from the injury and prepare himself mentally for the next step.

"I think the next step will be something he really wants, which is what I said before the injury in the period of doubt about his future.

"I always thought he is much more important than myself or what I want, it is what he wants.

"I always want players to be happy to choose their future and I think this is what is to happen."

Pogba sustained a muscle injury in the win at Burnley at the weekend and will not be available, along with defenders Chris Smalling and Phil Jones.