Pep Guardiola Says Benjamin Mendy Knee Injury Worse Than Initially Feared

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistSeptember 27, 2017

Manchester City's French defender Benjamin Mendy (C) is helped by medics during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Crystal Palace at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on September 23, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Oli SCARFF / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.  /         (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)
OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

Manchester City left-back Benjamin Mendy is set for a prolonged spell on the sidelines due to a knee injury, with manager Pep Guardiola saying the problem is worse than initially anticipated. 

Mendy picked up the problem on Saturday in City's 5-0 demolition of Crystal Palace in the Premier League, forcing him to miss Tuesday's 2-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk in the UEFA Champions League.

Speaking about the former AS Monaco man after the European clash, Guardiola gave more insight into the issue.

"He is travelling to Barcelona, and we are going to see what he has," he said, per Sky Sports. "Our first impression is that it will it be a little long, longer than we expected which is unfortunate. But I am pretty sure it will be longer than we would like."

Manchester City's Spanish manager Pep Guardiola shouts instructions to his players from the touchline during the Group F football match between Manchester City and Shakhtar Donetsk at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on September 26,
OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

Guardiola said he was most disappointed for Mendy from a personal perspective but also pointed out the team will miss his influence.

"The way we want to play, we will miss him a lot," the City manager added. "He is a unique player, the joy he gives on and off the pitch."

Per James Robson of the Manchester Evening News, Guardiola could bring in potential reinforcements at left-back in midseason:

"We will see in January [about buying a replacement]," he said, per Jonathan Smith of ESPN FC. "We thought next summer about looking for another left-back, another replacement."

City spent £52 million on the 23-year-old in the summer, and in the few appearances he has made for the team Mendy has been excellent.

In Guardiola's debut term, the biggest issue in the team was the full-back positions and at left-back City had two ageing footballers to call upon in Gael Clichy and Aleksandar Kolarov. Mendy, by contrast, was a force of nature on the left wing for Monaco in their title-winning 2016-17 campaign.

For a team that loves to attack, he's a perfect full-back. Mendy runs forward on the overlap, is difficult to stop when he surges into space and is capable of producing excellent deliveries into the penalty area. Journalist Rafael Hernandez noted he's been a key addition:

Meanwhile, the Sunday Times' Duncan Castles believes City should have been more careful in the way they invested in the summer:

Guardiola said after the Shakhtar clash that Danilo, Fabian Delph and Fernandinho can all slot into the position in Mendy's absence, though none of that trio are naturals in the role.

The Frenchman has become a popular character at the Etihad Stadium because of his vibrant personality and effervescent playing style. After a sensational start to the season for City as a whole, his absence represents a major blow.

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