Claudio Bravo out for the rest of the season as Pep Guaridola confirms Sergio Aguero and John Stones injuries

Aguero and Stones may return for next week's clash against Leicester but Guardiola may risk the returning David Silva after he returned to training

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The Independent Football

Claudio Bravo will miss Manchester City’s run-in with a calf injury as they try to secure a place in next season’s Champions League.

The Chile goalkeeper, who has faced severe criticism for his performances since arriving from Barcelona last August, was taken off on a stretcher with a calf injury during the goalless draw with Manchester United on April 27.

Manager Pep Guardiola has confirmed that the injury will keep Bravo out for City’s remaining four Premier League matches, with Willy Caballero set to continue against Crystal Palace on Saturday, while third-choice Angus Gunn sits on the bench.

However, Sergio Aguero, David Silva and John Stones are all likely to play some part during the run-in.

Aguero, who has a calf injury, and Stones, struggling with a muscle problem, are likely to return against Leicester next weekend, as is playmaker Silva, who has returned to full training after two weeks out with knee trouble.

Guardiola said: “Bravo isn’t coming back until next season, John maybe will in the last games.

“Sergio is not fit. Hopefully he will be for the next one but for this game, no. He is not fit.

“Yesterday was David’s first training session. I don’t know if he will be ready for tomorrow. No, after the reaction in the semi-final of the FA Cup, he’s still not perfect.”

Three of City’s final four matches are at home, and they may need to win all four games to ensure a place in next season’s Champions League.

Since winning their first 10 games under Guardiola, City have won four successive matches just once, although that run started with an FA Cup fourth-round win at Saturday’s opponents Palace in late January.

City have won only eight of their 16 home league games this season, and Guardiola has suggested that their record at the Etihad Stadium must improve in order to secure a top-four finish.

He said: “It’s still in our hands if we are able to win the four games. But that’s so complicated.

“Since the beginning of the season, when we won 10 games, we have been able to win four games in a row only once.

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Guardiola believes his side have not won enough to challenge for the Premier League title (Getty)

“I know how tough Crystal Palace are. They beat Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool.

“We have Leicester, the last champions. Then we have West Brom and Tony Pulis, who are always complicated but it is in our hands.

“We will see if we are able to make our step forward to qualify. If we win all four games we will definitely be in the Champions League and maybe in the third position. It depends on us.

“Our home games have not been perfect this season. We have to change it in three [home] games if we want to play in Europe [the Champions League] next season.”

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Sergio Aguero has been ruled out of the clash with Crystal Palace (Getty)

Guardiola has suggested that City’s failure to mount a title challenge this season is a result of their failure to grasp the direct nature of English football.

As the City manager put it, “nothing happens in the middle” in the Premier League, with most teams keen to get the ball into the penalty area quickly rather than play a more patient style.

He said: “For the first two months, we were good, then we were inconsistent. So over the season, we were more inconsistent than consistent.

“In the boxes, we were not good, and in this league, everything happens in the boxes. In other leagues, the people in the middle take care of the process. Here, nothing happens in the middle.

“We were not strong in that way, and that is why we have suffered this season.

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Silva could be risked against City this weekend (Getty)

“It’s no surprise because I was a fan of the Premier League as a teenager, as an adult, as a player and as a manager.

“When I was on my sofa watching the games in the Premier League, I realised how they play here.

“It’s your culture. You create that football, and for all your careers, you are used to playing that way.

“That’s why we have to adapt. I knew that when I came here. Now I realise it when I am here.”

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