Pep Guardiola hopes to have Benjamin Mendy fit again after the international break.
Manchester City are expecting that the two-week break from the club game can allow players including Mendy, Fernandinho, John Stones and Kevin De Bruyne to build up their fitness for the final months of the season. Should the Blues make it past Swansea, they will have an FA Cup semi-final to go with their Champions League quarter-final and Premier League run-in in April alone, with a busy May following if their success continues.
City’s coach has spent much of the past two years waiting for Mendy to be ready. Signed from Monaco in the summer of 2017, the French defender arrived injured and then suffered cruciate ligament damage in his knee in September of that year that forced him out for the majority of his debut campaign.
After linking up early with the squad with the World Cup, Mendy looked to have put his injury problems behind him and notched five assists in nine Premier League games to give a glimpse of how influential he can be to Guardiola’s City.
However, another knee injury saw him out for two months from November and the left-back suffered a further setback after playing in the league cup at Burton. Mendy will not be fit for the trip to Swansea but City hope he will be back in time for their crunch period.
In his absence, Aleks Zinchenko has made the left-back spot his own with his all-action effort impressing the manager.
City also intend to press on with plans to sign a specialist in that position in the summer despite spending over £125m two summers ago. The unreliability of Mendy’s fitness leaves the club looking for another answer in the position, with Leicester’s Ben Chilwell among the options.