De Bruyne and Aguero return to Man City training ahead of EFL Cup final

By Sports Desk April 23, 2021

Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero are back in training ahead of Manchester City's EFL Cup final showdown with Tottenham on Sunday.

Pep Guardiola's side are aiming to win the trophy for a fourth consecutive season, returning to Wembley eight days after a 1-0 defeat to Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-finals.

The pain of that defeat was compounded by star midfielder De Bruyne hobbling off with an ankle injury, although the problem is not as bad as first feared.

De Bruyne sat out Wednesday's 2-1 win at Aston Villa but resumed work with Guardiola's first-team squad alongside Aguero.

City's all-time record goalscorer has endured a final campaign at the Etihad Stadium beset by knee and hamstring issues after meniscus surgery last June, while he also suffered the effects of coronavirus.

"Both [De Bruyne and Aguero] they are training today," Guardiola said, meaning each man appears to have better prospects than Harry Kane, who was unable to take part in Tottenham's Friday session.

"Today was the first training session after the last two weeks [for Aguero]. Tomorrow he will have the last training session and we are going to decide."

Final successes in the past three campaigns over Arsenal, Chelsea and Villa mean City can become the second team in history after Liverpool between 1981 and 1984 to lift the cup for a fourth season in a row.

However, as was the case in the Chelsea reverse, Guardiola hinted there might be wholesale changes as he casts an eye towards Wednesday's Champions League semi-final first leg against Paris Saint-Germain.

"We've said many times. every game must be taken seriously. But the Premier League is the most important competition this season. After that it is the Champions League, the FA Cup and after the Carabao Cup," he said.

"When you play this competition at the beginning of the season when every player is fit, it is perfect to rotate and everybody can be involved.

"We have to play right now in the middle of the decisive part of the season. I would say the Premier League is the first title of the season and the second to qualify for the Champions League – ask all the teams who are fighting to qualify for next season.

"Once we are there and arrive in this position, normally the Carabao Cup is over, but now we are going to play [the final] in the middle part of the important part of the Premier League season. And three days before, like a dream come true at the end [of the season], we play the semi-final of the Champions League."

Guardiola added: "That’s why we have a mix of contradiction; that it's a final we have to win, but we have one eye on the Champions League and one eye on Crystal Palace [in the Premier League next weekend].

"Carabao Cup is nice - we want the four, we will play to win the fourth. But PSG and Palace are there and PSG [in the second leg] is there. We'll see what happens on Sunday."

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  • Reguilon: Newcastle United fan's health more important than Tottenham win Reguilon: Newcastle United fan's health more important than Tottenham win

    Sergio Reguilon said the health of a supporter who was taken to hospital during Tottenham's Premier League win at Newcastle United on Sunday was more important than his side claiming all three points.

    The Magpies confirmed a fan was stabilised and taken to hospital after a medical emergency temporarily halted play in the game at St James' Park.

    Players were alerted to an incident in the ground's East Stand shortly before the 40th minute, with Spurs full-back Reguilon quickly alerting referee Andre Marriner.

    Eric Dier and Oliver Skipp went over to the dugout to request medical assistance and a team doctor with a defibrillator ran across the playing surface, with Marriner pausing play and instructing the players to leave the pitch.

    Marriner was then seen discussing the situation with a steward and a police officer before the players headed into the changing rooms as the fan continued to receive treatment before later being taken from the stadium.

    Both sides later returned to the pitch to play out the rest of the first half, with Spurs going on to seal a 3-2 victory.

    Reguilon, who was widely praised for his swift reaction, said the win mattered little after such a worrying incident.

    "I think three points is always a moment of happiness but, for me, what's more important is the guy, they are telling me he is okay and stable," he told Match of the Day.

    "I saw the fans waving and I saw a guy lying down. I saw something wrong had happened. I looked at the referee and he stopped the match. I think now everything is okay and 100 per cent happiness.

    "It was very strange, we went to the dressing room and I was looking at the man lying down, I was nervous because I don't like to watch that."

    Harry Kane, whose first Premier League goal of the campaign put Spurs 2-1 ahead, echoed Reguilon's sentiments and sent his best wishes to the supporter.

    "Firstly, we want to say best wishes to the guy in the stands, it was not a good sight to see," he told Sky Sports. "We hear that he might be stable now, so we're thankful to the medical teams and the fans who were doing the CPR.

    "Hopefully he's okay and we wish him all the best from all the players at Tottenham."

    Callum Wilson had put Newcastle into a second-minute lead, but Tottenham hit back through Tanguy Ndombele, Kane and Son Heung-min.

    Jonjo Shelvey saw red for the hosts, who were given late hope through Eric Dier's own goal, but Nuno Espirito Santo's side held firm to register back-to-back Premier League wins after three defeats on the spin.

    "The game itself didn't start great, we knew they were going to come out fast and they got their early goal," Kane added. "After that, we composed ourselves really well, created some good chances.

    "The only disappointment is that we should have seen the game out, got the fourth, the fifth. We made it a bit more difficult at the end there."

  • Newcastle United 2-3 Tottenham: Kane off the mark as Spurs spoil the party at St James' Park Newcastle United 2-3 Tottenham: Kane off the mark as Spurs spoil the party at St James' Park

    Newcastle United's new era started with a familiar feeling of disappointment as Tottenham ran out 3-2 winners at St James' Park, with Sunday's match marred by a medical emergency in the stands.

    With the pre-match build up dominated by Newcastle's off-field changes, the club's new PIF owners were served up a stark reminder of the issues on the pitch as Steve Bruce's 1000th game as a manager ended in defeat.

    Callum Wilson's second-minute header buoyed an already rampant home crowd, but Tottenham hit back through Tanguy Ndombele before Harry Kane scored his first Premier League goal of the season.

    A fan was taken to hospital after an incident late in the first half, which led to a defibrillator being called for and the suspension of play. When it restarted, Kane turned provider for Son Heung-min.

    Jonjo Shelvey's red card seemed to erase any Newcastle hopes, only for Eric Dier's late own goal to worry Spurs, but it was ultimately not enough to inspire a comeback.

    Newcastle's pre-match elation swiftly carried onto the pitch. Only one minute and 47 seconds had passed when Wilson got ahead of his marker to head in Javier Manquillo's cross.

    Yet a blistering following 10 minutes failed to produce another Newcastle goal and, after Lucas Moura fired a warning shot, Spurs drew level through Ndombele's superb, curling strike into the right-hand side of the goal.

    Spurs' turnaround was complete five minutes later as Kane darted onto Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg's lofted pass and finished deftly over Darlow. The goal was initially disallowed for offside, but VAR spotted Manquillo's failure to step up in time.

    Lucas rattled the woodwork as Spurs searched for a third, though play was then suspended due to a medical emergency in the crowd.

    Spurs picked up where they left off following a long delay – Kane squaring for Son to make it 3-1.

    Devoid of ideas going forward, Newcastle's day turned from bad to worse in the 83rd minute.

    Shelvey, brought on as a 60th-minute substitute, brought down Sergio Reguilon, duly receiving his second yellow card.

    Newcastle were handed hope by Dier bundling into his own net, though Spurs held firm to condemn their hosts to another damaging defeat.


    What does it mean? Champions League? It’s the Championship that Newcastle need to worry about

    There has been no shortage of controversy surrounding the Saudi Arabian-backed takeover, but many fans have been left dreaming of what their club can achieve with such wealth at their disposal.

    However, talk of mega-money deals for global superstars must now make way for the bleak reality Newcastle face. They sit 19th, without a win to their name and only a point above Norwich City. It may be early in the campaign, but the focus come January has to be retaining the club's Premier League status. 

    Harry gets off the mark at his happy hunting ground

    Kane's misfortunes have become a major talking point in recent weeks, with last season's golden boot winner far from his best since his failed move to Manchester City.

    But he finally opened his league account for the campaign on Sunday, before then combining with his partner in crime Son. Six of Kane's seven top-flight goals for Spurs against Newcastle have come at St James' Park. He has only scored more away goals against Leicester City and Everton.

    Time up for Bruce?

    Bruce hit out at the media in his pre-match news conference, after numerous stories of his impending dismissal proved to be untrue. Yet on his milestone game as a manager, Bruce's deficiencies were there for all to see. Newcastle started brilliantly, but in the final 10 minutes, a chorus of "sacked in the morning" echoed around the stadium. It was not exactly clear which sets of supporters were responsible.

    His record stands at W376, D254, L370, while Bruce has won just four of his 27 encounters with Spurs in all competitions, and the speculation over his future seems set to continue as Newcastle's new owners assess the state of play.

    What's next?

    Newcastle face another London team in the form of an away game at Crystal Palace next Saturday, while Spurs travel to the Netherlands to play Vitesse in the Europa Conference League on Thursday.

  • Fan stablised and taken to hospital after medical emergency at St James' Park Fan stablised and taken to hospital after medical emergency at St James' Park

    Newcastle United have confirmed a fan was stabilised and taken to hospital after a medical emergency temporarily halted play in Sunday's Premier League match with Tottenham at St James' Park.

    Players were alerted to an incident in the ground's East Stand shortly before the 40th minute, with Spurs' Sergio Reguilon quickly alerting referee Andre Marriner.

    Eric Dier and Oliver Skipp went over to the dugout to request medical assistance and a team doctor with a defibrillator ran across the playing surface, with Marriner pausing play and instructing the players to leave the pitch.

    Marriner was then seen discussing the situation with a steward and a police officer before the players headed into the changing rooms as the fan continued to receive treatment before later being taken from the stadium.

    Both sides later returned to the pitch to play out the rest of the first half plus seven additional minutes of stoppage time, with Son Heung-min making it 3-1 to the visitors.

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