Juanma Lillo clarifies Phil Foden and Manuel Akanji Manchester City absence

Manchester City assistant manager Juanma Lillo has explained the absence of Phil Foden and Manuel Akanji from the starting side against Sheffield United on Sunday.

The treble-winners moved to the top of the Premier League table with a dramatic 2-1 victory over Sheffield United at Bramall Lane, extending their winning start to the season to three consecutive matches.

Rodri’s emphatic strike reinstated Manchester City’s 88th minute lead, after Jayden Bogle cancelled out Erling Haaland’s opening goal, capitalising on a Kyle Walker mistake.

Haaland, who had missed a penalty prior to breaking the deadlock in the second-half, headed Manchester City into the lead after a deep cross from Jack Grealish.

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The Blues’ win came despite the absence of manager Pep Guardiola, as Juanma Lillo took charge of Manchester City, with the Catalan recovering from an emergency back operation in Barcelona.

Manchester City were also without Manuel Akanji for Sunday’s match against newly-promoted Sheffield United, with the Swiss defender ‘not fully fit’ according to the club.

Akanji had started in all four of Manchester City’s previous matches across all competitions this season, keeping a clean sheet in successive Premier League outings.

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Phil Foden was also absent from the starting side despite impressing during last weekend’s win over Newcastle United at the Etihad Stadium.

The 23-year-old didn’t travel initially with the Manchester City squad for the fixture, meeting up with the squad separately on Sunday.

Foden featured in the final minutes of the match, replacing Mateo Kovacic moments after Sheffield United’s equalising goal, and then providing the assist for Rodri’s winning strike.

Post-match, Juanma Lillo confirmed that Foden’s absence from the travelling squad and omission from the starting team was due to the Englishman suffering a gastroenteritis-like illness, reported Sam Lee.

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Manchester City are already without both Kevin De Bruyne and John Stones due to injury, with the latter not expected to return until after the international break.

Foden will hope to return to full fitness for the Blues’ Premier League clash against Fulham at the Etihad Stadium next Saturday.

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