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Pep Guardiola set to miss Sheffield United and Fulham fixtures after undergoing back surgery

Pep Guardiola set to miss Man City’s next two games after undergoing back surgery

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has undergone emergency surgery on a back problem, the club have confirmed.

The Spanish tactician will miss his side’s upcoming fixtures against Premier League newcomers Sheffield United at Bramall Lane and Fulham at the Etihad Stadium.

The 52-year-old underwent the procedure in Barcelona, where he is now recovering, and is expected to return to the dugout after the international break next month.

Man City said in a statement: “Pep Guardiola has today undergone a routine operation on a back problem.

“The Manchester City boss has been suffering severe back pain for some time lately and flew out to Barcelona for emergency surgery performed by Dr Mireia Illueca. 

“The surgery was a success, and Pep will now recover and rehabilitate in Barcelona.

“In his absence, assistant manager Juanma Lillo will oversee the coaching of the first team on the training field and will assume duties on the touchline until Pep’s return. 

“He is expected to return after the forthcoming international break.”

Assistant manager Lillo returned to Man City this summer, having spent a year coaching Qatari club Al-Sadd. 

He was previously at Man City from 2020 to 2022 before his tenure in Qatar, where he guided the team to a third-place finish.

Lilo will get his chance to showcase his tactical skills, albeit for just two matches, while Guardiola continues his rehabilitation in Spain.

Man City have already kicked off their 2023/24 campaign with three wins from four games after losing to Arsenal in the Community Shield before thwarting Sevilla on penalties to lift the UEFA Super Cup.

They began their Premier League title defence with back-to-back wins against Burnley and Newcastle United.

Lilo will be tasked with extending their current two-match winning streak when the Cityzens travel to Yorkshire next weekend.

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