Champions Manchester City suffered an injury blow as captain Kevin de Bruyne hobbled off early on in their 3-0 win at Burnley in their opening Premier League game of the season on Friday.
Erling Haaland’s first-half double put City on course for a comfortable win but coach Pep Guardiola’s satisfaction at a solid start was tempered by the injury to his Belgian playmaker.
De Bruyne, 32, had also limped off in the Champions League final two months ago with a hamstring injury and Guardiola said it was a recurrence of that problem.
“Yes he is injured again. Same issue (as last season) he told me. So that is a problem. We need to go back and reflect with the medical team,” Guardiola told Sky Sports.
“He was feeling really good and playing really good in the first minutes. But unfortunately he is injured again. Maybe (he shouldn’t have started), but what happens in the first 15 minutes could also have come in the 50th, 65th or 70th.”
Haaland struck after four minutes and in the 36th — repeating his two-goal burst in City’s opening game of the last campaign when he went on to score a Premier League season-record 36 times and a total of 52 goals in all competitions.
Rodri added another late on but Guardiola was not entirely happy with City’s display.
“The first games are so important to see how our vibes are. To come here to a promoted side is always so tricky. We didn’t expect them to play with five at the back but we found the goal,” Guardiola said.
“After the goal we struggled, created problems for ourselves. But then Bernardo (Silva) and (Mateo) Kovacic drop deeper, we get possession going and then we improved.”
Haaland’s second goal was an exquisite finish into the top corner after a lay off by Julian Alvarez and the 23-year-old looked razor sharp as he began the new campaign in style.
“Good to start again after two months without football. And good to start with a win of course,” the Norwegian said.
“Julian (Alvarez) had a lot of space inside the 18-yard box so I knew if I got the ball I was going to shoot because I was close. I was just trying to think about finishing it if I got the ball, and I did it quite well! Was a good finish eh?”