Pep Guardiola has confirmed Kevin De Bruyne will be out for “several weeks” after being forced by Manchester City to win against Burnley on the first day.
City began their Premier League title defense with a 3–0 victory over newly promoted Burnley when Erling Haaland struck twice in the first half before Rodri scored a third midway through the second.
Former City captain Vincent Kompany’s win over Burnley was marred by De Bruyne’s 23rd-minute withdrawal when Guardiola revealed his talisman had injured the same hamstring that was holding him back at the end of last season.
Guardiola said: “Hamstring again. Same position. It depends on the severity of the injury, but it will be in a few weeks.”
De Bruyne returned from a similar problem just in time for the start of the Champions League final in June, but only lasted 36 minutes.
Asked if the Belgian midfielder had returned too early to start against Burnley, Guardiola replied: “Maybe. Maybe it was my mistake, but when he is injured after 15-20 minutes it’s not something wrong, when 65 it’s muscle fatigue.
“We need to talk to the doctors and to him. He was injured for a long time, he returned from this position.
“He fell. He fought a lot. Champions League Final. He felt very well. I prefer to start and do 50-55 minutes. He is disappointed, but he is strong and will return.”
Guardiola appeared to have been involved in a heated exchange with Haaland as the players left the field at half-time, with the Spaniard explaining why both were so enthusiastic.
He added: “We talk a lot. Erling immediately wanted the ball, but Bernardo (Silva) didn’t give it up, one minute left and it was 0-2.
“A minute earlier (the ball went) to Mateo Kovacic and we lost him. We should finish with a score of 0:2 and move on to the second one. I understand Erling, he wanted the ball, but Bernardo made the right decision.”
Kompany, who won four Premier League titles with City, led Burnley to the Sky Bet title in his first season in charge and debuted with five year olds.
The Belgian said that his new look will only get better and their performance has been positive.
He said, “This is progress again. This team should be the worst it will ever be this season, at this point in time.
“You want to get results, that goes without saying, but there are other things that build the foundation for a season – tackling, pressing, going one-on-one with defenders.”
Second-half substitute Anass Zarowry was sent off in the final stage after his yellow card for challenging Kyle Walker was changed to a red after referee Craig Pawson watched the replay on a fieldside monitor.
The company added, “The crowd was always behind us. I would like us to change the game again in the last 20 minutes and create even more dangers, but with the red card the game seems to have calmed down.
“We had enough today to get something. I’m not talking about the result, but about getting into the protocol.