Phil Foden is a gamechanger for Manchester City who could make the difference in Saturday's Champions League final, says team-mate Ilkay Gundogan.

Foden's first season as a regular first-team starter at City has yielded rich rewards, with a strike in Sunday's closing 5-0 win over Everton his 16th in all competitions.

That places him second in the club's scoring charts this term, just behind midfielder Gundogan on 17.

Foden has also chipped in with 10 assists – only Kevin De Bruyne (18) has more – and he looks set to have a key role to play in England's Euro 2020 campaign after making his international breakthrough.

First up are Chelsea in City's maiden appearance in the Champions League showpiece, an occasion for which Gundogan feels Foden need not make any special preparations.

"Phil has become one of our main players throughout the season," said the ex-Borussia Dortmund midfielder, who was a losing finalist despite scoring a penalty against Bayern Munich at Wembley in 2013.

"He's doing incredibly well, he improved in so many details of his game, mainly in taking the right decisions at crucial times.

"For such a young age it is really impressive. I wouldn't recommend him to change anything from what he's done over the past few weeks. He's doing great.

"He is one of the gamechangers for us and he can be one on Saturday. But there is no need to put anyone under pressure because everyone has done the right thing over the past few months.

"It's just about maintaining that level and form and going with that attitude into the game."

Another player at the opposite end of his career to Foden is City's captain Fernandinho.

The 36-year-old could become the first Brazilian to skipper a Champions League-winning side and, despite having found himself below Rodri in the pecking order for much of the season, a rousing display in the second leg of the semi-final against Paris Saint-Germain has given boss Pep Guardiola something to think about.

"I really can't express how important Fernandinho is to us as a group," Gundogan said, before doing precisely that.

"He is immense. He didn't get as much game time as others in the squad this season, but he exactly knows his role and his responsibilities and what he has to do and say in the right times.

"This is what a leader is. A leader is maybe not always the one scoring the goals or playing every minute, who has the best passing rate or whatever.

"A leader is someone who is not scared to say the truth in the bad moments, who has that sense of empathy inside themselves.

"Even though his role from a sporting perspective was not the easiest one, the way he handled it was just incredible. He is a big part of our success and when he played, he played amazing.

"If you wish to have the right characters in a squad, you wish to have a lot of players like Fernandinho."

Gundogan is one of the virtual certainties to be on the City teamsheet and assuaged any injury doubts after he was substituted having opened the scoring in last week's 3-2 loss at Brighton and Hove Albion before watching the Everton match from the bench.

"I'm alright, I was a little bit cautious in that Brighton game," he explained. "Because of the knock on my knee I started to feel all the muscles around it a little bit and I didn't want to pull anything.

"I didn't miss any training sessions, so I'm feeling good."

Pep Guardiola is yet to decide upon the Manchester City starting XI to face Chelsea in Saturday's Champions League final.

Guardiola has rotated his side frequently this season, with City's ample squad depth a factor in them adding Premier League and EFL Cup glory to their impressive haul under the Catalan tactician.

However, their progress through the knockout stages of the Champions League saw Guardiola deploy a relatively settled line-up, usually opting for a striker-less 4-3-3 formation.

Any tweaks, such as Oleksandr Zinchenko and Fernandinho being preferred to Joao Cancelo and Rodri at left-back and holding midfielder respectively for the second leg of the semi-final triumph over Paris Saint-Germain, were largely personnel based - tactical changes more of the tweaking variety, as opposed to the more eyebrow-raising alterations that have accompanied City's European exits over recent years.

"They are ready," Guardiola said of his squad on Monday. "I know how good they are, all of them.

"I'm not going to change [plans] for one or two training sessions. They are going to convince me.

"I know most of them for many, many years. So, no – I have an idea but the starting XI is not done, not yet."

Guardiola's effective use of false nines has left his conventional attackers on the outside looking in when it has come to big games over recent months, even if Ferran Torres' hat-trick at Newcastle United and Sergio Aguero's brilliant brace on his Premier League farewell against Everton may have cooked up some food for thought.

However, midfielder Ilkay Gundogan believes the most significant changes have come at the other end of the field.

A defence bolstered by Ruben Dias kept seven consecutive clean sheets from their second group game at Marseille up to and including the conclusion of the last-16 tie with Borussia Monchengladbach.

Borussia Dortmund and PSG – Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, Erling Haaland and the rest – were then effectively shackled, marking a contrast to the tendency to concede goals in bursts that have previously thwarted City's attempts to reach a maiden final in Europe's top competition.

"This year I feel a couple of crucial things changed for us compared to other years," Gundogan said. "As an example, against Monaco a few years ago we conceded three goals at home, when we played Tottenham we conceded three goals at home, when we played Lyon we conceded three goals.

"This year it seems to me we are so stable, conceding fewer goals. That just helps us to win even more. This is so important in the big games in the knockout stages, being able to defend well, not to concede is obviously a bit advantage.

"Same as well for Chelsea, to be honest, they also seem to be very stable at the back. Maybe, on Saturday, it is going to be about who is able to deal better with a team that will defend on a very high level."

Chelsea are in their third Champions League final, having lost on penalties to Manchester United in 2008 before beating Bayern Munich in the same fashion four years later.

Guardiola was a player when Barcelona won their first European Cup title, having twice suffered disappointments in the final, while the team he went on to coach to two further successes had built up further top-level pedigree in the interim period.

By contrast, City's only previous continental success came in the now defunct European Cup Winners' Cup in 1970.

"Sometimes clubs need more finals to win the first one, in other clubs, it's just one shot to be the champion. Hopefully that will be the case," Guardiola added.

"In this period, we won back-to-back [Premier League titles] for the first time, we broke a lot of records for the first time, arrive in the [Champions League] semi-finals for the second time, arrive in the final for the first time.

"As a club, as an organisation we are not old in this case. But in terms of how excited and delighted we are, nobody can beat us on that."

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is positive over the fitness of N'Golo Kante and Edouard Mendy ahead of the Champions League final.

Midfielder Kante sat out the 2-1 loss to Aston Villa on Sunday as the Blues scraped a top-four finish in the Premier League on the final day thanks to Tottenham's win over Leicester City.

Goalkeeper Mendy was substituted at Villa Park with a rib injury, making him a doubt for the showdown with Manchester City in Porto on Saturday.

However, Tuchel does not appear overly concerned by either injury and is prepared to give them time to recover before he makes a decision on their involvement.

"The situation has not changed with N'Golo in the sense we are still waiting, but it is looking good that he will return to training on Wednesday," he said on Monday.

"I think about changing my tactics now and stop asking about N'Golo. I'll just put him on the pitch in Wednesday training and don't ask anymore. If there are any problems we will just put him in training and put him on the pitch when the game starts on Saturday.

"Maybe I won't talk to the doctors and physios so I don't hear doubts or complaints or nothing. Maybe I have to think about the tactics. It looks good and I hope it stays like this.

"[Mendy] made a huge improvement with the management of pain from when the injury happened, which is good but of course we will need a further update on Wednesday. We hope to have him back.

"Edou will play if he's fit. And if he's not fit on Wednesday, we will try Thursday, and if not then we will try Friday. We will be reasonable and take responsibility for the decision. At the same time, we have trust if he can't make it. We have a strong guy with Kepa [Arrizabalaga] on the bench who would take his place.

"So the race is on. We are happy the images didn't show the injury was too serious. So we are positive. But every hour and every day counts. Hopefully, the team around Edou and he himself can do enough that he is on the pitch. It would be a good boost for us."

Tuchel's primary focus is to allow his squad the chance to rest and recover after a hectic schedule in which Chelsea battled for a top-four league finish and reached the FA Cup final as well as the showpiece clash with City.

"It's mental relaxation now because it was a tight schedule for us being in the race for top four from the first moment we arrived, and making it to the FA Cup and Champions League final meant a huge task to fulfill," he said. "That's why it was a constant up and down, constant pressure, focusing on different competitions, that was not easy.

"So we are absolutely happy and it's an outstanding achievement we made it. Now is the moment for a mental break for the players. I will use it personally to think about how we will approach the game on Saturday. What are the headlines? The key points? How do we approach it mentally, emotionally, tactically?

"This is my day tomorrow to be prepared on Wednesday when the players come back. The players need a bit of distraction and mental rest to breathe. And then I want them to be here on Wednesday full of joy because this is maybe their most exciting week in their life as professional players."

Milan head coach Stefano Pioli said his side deserved to finish second in Serie A after securing their long-awaited Champions League return with a 2-0 win at Atalanta on Sunday.

Pioli's Milan led Serie A in the first half of the 2020-21 season but faded, before restoring second spot, only to draw 0-0 at home with Cagliari in the penultimate round to leave their top-four hopes up in the air in a three-way fight with rivals Juventus and Napoli.

Franck Kessie scored a double from the spot as Milan got the decisive win to leapfrog Atalanta as Serie A runners-up and secure their first Champions League berth since 2013-14.

Kessie became the first player to score 10-plus penalties for Milan in a Serie A season since Zlatan Ibrahimovic in 2011-12.

"We achieved it because we deserved it and we deserved second place in the standings," he told Sky Sport Italia.

"It was right, unfortunately we had thrown away last Sunday's match point. I am really excited and happy."

Milan's runner-up placing was their best since finishing the 2012-13 Serie A season in third.

Pioli also hailed the Rossoneri for their collective effort to overcome the loss of veteran top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic to injuries for large periods of the second half of the campaign.

"It is all we have done together, the strength not to break down in difficulties," Pioli said. "I am very proud of the mental growth of the group.

"We played with Zlatan only 19 out of 38 games, taking away the champion from the other teams for half the season I would like to see what they would do.

"I also thought that if we were fifth it would be a difficult summer. Now we enjoy it and then we will leave again."

Milan also finished the 2020-21 league season with double the number of wins on the road compared to at home.

They set a new all-time record for away wins in a Serie A season: 16 – no side have ever done better in the top-five European leagues in a single campaign (16 also for Real Madrid in 2011-12 and Manchester City in 2017-18).

"We asked ourselves, we tried to evaluate this situation well," he said. "We weren't a team that made a lot of one-on-ones in the last quarter of the pitch.

"We miss the individual play when the teams close, in this data we are below average. We lacked some individual play. On the road, perhaps we found some more space, this is a situation that we will have to evaluate.

"I heard that this team took advantage of the absence of fans in the stadiums at least initially to find serenity, but I'm sure this team here with the enthusiasm of our fans at San Siro would have grown a lot."

Andrea Pirlo expects to stay on as Juventus coach next season after guiding them to a top-four finish.

Juve beat Bologna 4-1 on Sunday, a victory that confirmed they will finish fourth in Serie A, a point ahead of Napoli after they could only draw 1-1 at home to Hellas Verona.

A win for Napoli would have left Juve out of the top four regardless of the Bianconeri's result, though Gennaro Gattuso's men were only ahead for a short while.

It was plain sailing throughout for Juve at Bologna, with Federico Chiesa opening the scoring early on to ensure he finished the season as the second youngest player after Marcus Rashford to record at least nine goals and assists across the top five European leagues this term.

Adrien Rabiot and Alvaro Morata, who got a brace, did the rest of the damage, with the Spaniard reaching the 20-goals mark across all competitions for the first time since 2016-17 as he deputised effectively for Cristiano Ronaldo.

It was Juve's 342nd and final game as reigning Serie A champions, a record, and although Pirlo was unable to continue their domination of Italy's top flight, he expects to be in charge again next term.

"I've always put in the maximum commitment, and this is the end result. Those who must decide [about my future] will do so," he told DAZN.

"I see myself in the Juve dugout next season. I would confirm it myself, but now we have to just enjoy what we have achieved.

"For me, it was important to finish the job: winning the Coppa Italia and qualifying for the Champions League. It was a very important goal."

There were conflicting rumours about the reasoning behind Ronaldo's absence, which was seen as curious given the importance of the game for Juve.

While some reports suggested Ronaldo made himself unavailable due to fatigue following the Coppa Italia final, others said it was Pirlo's decision, but the coach insisted they had agreed he would start on the bench.

"It was a joint decision," Pirlo said. "Ronaldo was tired after the match on Wednesday, so I opted to start Morata, who is another great player.

"Ronaldo was available. I've got a strong squad and I can pick many different players."

Nevertheless, Ronaldo finished the season as Serie A's most-prolific player with 29 goals, becoming the first player to achieve that feat in Italy's top flight, LaLiga and the Premier League.

Thomas Tuchel seemed relaxed about the condition of Edouard Mendy after the goalkeeper suffered a rib injury in Sunday's 2-1 defeat to Aston Villa, less then a week before the Champions League final.

Mendy was replaced by Kepa Arrizabalaga at half-time, with the Senegal international having hurt his ribs after colliding with the goal frame.

Chelsea went on to secure qualification for the Champions League regardless of their defeat to Villa, though the fitness of their first-choice goalkeeper was undoubtedly a concern with such an important game on the horizon.

Mendy joined Chelsea last year and quickly established himself as the club's primary option between the posts under Frank Lampard, before retaining his place when Tuchel came in four months ago.

The German expects a firm update on Monday but is optimistic the goalkeeper will be available to face Manchester City in Porto Saturday.

Asked how they handled Mendy's loss, Tuchel told reporters: "It is easy to handle.

"He fell into the frame of the net. He feels a big pain in his ribs. We will have an update tomorrow with what's going on.

"We will see if it is possible [for him to play on Saturday] and if it is possible, we will push to do everything so he is in goal on Saturday."

Mendy has kept 16 clean sheets in the Premier League this season, a haul bettered by only Thibaut Courtois (17), Jan Oblak (18), Ederson (19) and Mike Maignan (21) across the top five European leagues in 2020-21.

His nine clean sheets since Tuchel's appointment is only behind Maignan's 11 over the same period.

Nevertheless, his xGOT (expected goals on target) conceded does leave a little to be desired, as his 26 goals let in is from a xGOT of 22.8.

This means the average goalkeeper would have expected to only let in roughly 23 goals from the quality of chances against him, therefore suggesting Mendy can do better.

Oblak has the best record (among goalkeepers to have played 15 or more games) in this regard over Europe's top five leagues, preventing LaLiga champions Atletico Madrid from conceding 8.6 goals more than they have.

However, Kepa's form from last season still shows how much of an upgrade Mendy has been.

Kepa conceded 47 Premier League goals from an xGOT value of 34.3, which suggests he was at fault for 12.7 goals – that was the third-worst such record across the top five leagues.

The Spaniard cannot be blamed too much for Sunday's defeat, though, the only goal he conceded coming via a penalty.

However, Tuchel accepts Chelsea got lucky, with Tottenham's 4-2 win over Leicester City ultimately vital in ensuring the Blues finished fourth.

"We are lucky that Tottenham did the job for us and finished the job for us today. Like I said, we came to win and to put any doubts to the side but it was not possible," Tuchel continued.

"We are in the position, were in it, that it was possible to end in the four even with a defeat and that was possible because of the team's hard work and consistently good results.

"We need to adjust details and we need to be spot on on Saturday as we want a positive outcome."

Gianni Infantino has denied FIFA colluded with clubs on the controversial Super League but stopped short of saying there had been no talks about the project.

The president of world football's governing body spoke out on Friday after the FIFA congress, describing the Super League attempted breakaway as "a rupture" in the game.

Asked whether FIFA had any involvement in the Super League planning or if it had offered support, Infantino gave a nine-minute response in which he said it was his job to always listen to anybody in the game considering a new format.

LaLiga president Javier Tebas recently accused Infantino of encouraging the Super League, but the FIFA chief rebutted that claim.

"Let me tell you that when we are analysing these questions, we should look at the facts and not rumours or corridor gossip, especially not coming from certain parts," Infantino said.

The proposed new competition was announced and quashed in the space of around 48 hours in April, a breath-taking episode that saw players, coaches, supporter groups, national associations, politicians and even royalty express dismay at the closed-door concept.

Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham announced they would be taking part, as did Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid from LaLiga, and Serie A giants Juventus, Milan and Inter also signed up. The project, a major threat to the UEFA Champions League, collapsed dramatically, but there are some who expect it to be revived.

"I know many clubs," Infantino told reporters in a conference call. "I speak with clubs for many years, since my days at UEFA, and when speaking to European clubs the Super League topic always is a topic for discussion.

"Everyone in football knows that, so let's not play games here. Everyone in football knows for years clubs have been studying and preparing for this or similar projects.

"In the 16 years I was in UEFA we always managed that, and I can tell you there were projects that were far more advanced than the one we have seen recently.

"At FIFA it is also my responsibility and our responsibility to discuss with football stakeholders. Now to listen to some clubs and to speak with some clubs doesn't certainly mean in any way whatsoever that FIFA was behind, was colluding, was plotting or I don't know what words you used for any Super League project."

Infantino pointed to a FIFA statement issued in January that said a breakaway competition would not be recognised by the world body.

"In that moment, the rupture was of course becoming inevitable and the rupture is never good, it's not good for anyone," Infantino said on Friday. "No war is good – never. We are ready to defend football from projects we know are wrong."

He added: "I don't close the doors to any discussion with anyone – never – about new formats, new ideas, new competitions. I'm ready to listen to everyone.

"This is my job ... the way I live the presidency of FIFA.

"I'm aware some people prefer to spin these discussions in a different way and I can understand that attacking me or FIFA is a good way to divert the attention from real problems that have never been addressed in the last years."

Infantino did not specify his target for that remark, but said: "I hope that as of today we can move to the real issues that football is facing."

Chelsea will make late checks on the fitness of N'Golo Kante and Kai Havertz for their pivotal match against Aston Villa.

The Blues are one point clear of Liverpool and Leicester City going into the final day of the Premier League season on Sunday.

Only two of those teams will be able to secure a top-four finish, but Chelsea's fate is in their own hands when they travel to Villa.

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel confirmed defender Andreas Christensen will return after missing the last three games with a hamstring injury.

Kante left the field in Tuesday's 2-1 win over Leicester with a hamstring problem of his own and is less certain to play.

A test will also be conducted on Havertz, with the upcoming Champions League final on May 29 also a factor Tuchel must weigh up when it comes to playing Kante or Havertz.

"With NG [Kante] it's going to be very close, but there are some hopes he joins team training on Saturday," said Tuchel. "If not, he'll join on Monday. 

"Kai did a test Friday and will be tested in team training [on Saturday].

"Andreas Christensen will be in the squad. He did full training [Thursday and Friday] without any problems. So he will be back."

Tuchel is aware Chelsea are in an exciting period, having bounced back from losing the FA Cup final by beating Leicester in the league, with two more decisive matches to come.

"It's exciting and it's nice if you play for stuff," said the German. "It keeps you at the edge and brings out the best in you. We felt it at Wembley and on Tuesday. 

"We needed to win to maintain our goals and that set a certain intensity and energy, that's very special. 

"It's not always like this for 60 matches a year. When these matches arrive, they are very special and they bring a certain amount of excitement you can't find anywhere else."

Chelsea have won their last three Premier League away games against Aston Villa, last winning four in a row at Villa Park between 1995 and 1999.

Tuchel revealed he would keep track of Leicester and Liverpool as they take on Tottenham and Crystal Palace respectively at the same time.

He said: "For a long period of the game we will be in our bubble, but in the end, if we have results that change the amount of risk we need to take – because we're not leading or not comfortable with our lead – we need to know. 

"We need to be professional. If we need to adapt our risk management in the game, I think it's normal. We will approach the game like the game against Leicester. It's in our hands and can decide things with a win.

"So we prepare to win the game but as you know, there can be a lot of twists and turns so we need to be ready for everything on our pitch.

"The top four would be the main target for all of us. Having a busy schedule made it harder. 

"We had so many games and a tight schedule. It was a complicated situation to reach the final, go back to top-four race, then a semi-final in the Champions League.

"There are so many competitions and so many levels in these competitions. So it demanded a lot of different levels of concentration for us. 

"It's what we worked for and it's still in our hands. We know how hard it is to play at Aston Villa but we are determined to do it."

Villa have lost 10 of their last 12 Premier League meetings with Chelsea (W1 D1), though they did get a draw in the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge this season.

Chelsea, meanwhile, have lost their final league game in just one of the last nine campaigns (W6 D2), going down 3-0 at Newcastle United in 2017-18.

They are unbeaten in each of their eight away league games under Tuchel (W6 D2), conceding just four goals in total and never more than once in a match.

Manchester City centre-back Ruben Dias has been named as the Footballer of the Year by the Football Writers' Association (FWA).

Dias, signed from Benfica last year, pipped team-mate Kevin De Bruyne and Tottenham talisman Harry Kane to the award. He was one of nine players from Pep Guardiola's title-winning team to be included in the shortlist, with the City contingent accounting for over half of the votes cast.

The 24-year-old, who has marshalled a defence which has conceded just 32 goals in the Premier League this season, is the first defender to win the prize since Steve Nicol in 1989. 

He has also become only the third player to win the award in his first season in England, after Jurgen Klinsmann and Gianfranco Zola did so in 1995 and 1997 respectively.

In addition to being integral to a fifth Premier League title charge, Dias has helped City to an EFL Cup win – their fourth in a row – and reach their first Champions League final, which will be played against Chelsea in Porto on May 29.

FWA chair Carrie Brown said: "Ruben Dias turned heads soon after his arrival in Manchester, a 23-year-old belying his age with fortitude, steel, a relentless drive for perfection and an almost superhuman ability to read and anticipate phases of play.

"This, while commendable, would not alone qualify a player to win the FWA Footballer of the Year award. One of our founding members, Charles Buchan, prescribed the award to recognise and celebrate a player who 'by precept and example' is considered to be the footballer of the year.

"Pep Guardiola improves players, shapes them but at no point, has a new signing arrived into one of Pep's already trophy-laden teams and exerted such influence.

"Dias has demanded the highest standards which have resulted in the swiftest of upturns in fortune not solely for Dias himself, but team-mates to his left, right, front and centre.

"Perhaps, in this of all seasons, Dias is the leader we all need."

Dias has made 31 league appearances for City this season, helping Guardiola's men keep 14 clean sheets, ranking him behind only Aston Villa's Matt Targett (15) among Premier League defenders.

His tally of 88 clearances puts him top in terms of City defenders, while no team-mate at the back has made more headed clearances (47) than the Portugal international.

He ranks fourth among City defenders for tackles attempted (23), boasting an impressive success rate of 56.5 per cent, with a duel success rate of 59.3.

No City defender has contested more aerial duels (98), with Dias winning 61 of them. He has scored one league goal so far.

Dias will be able to play in front of his own club's fans for the first time on Sunday, when City welcome Everton to the Etihad Stadium.

Timo Werner acknowledged he could not have too many complaints despite again rueing his luck as he played a key role for Chelsea without scoring in their 2-1 win over Leicester City.

Just four days on from losing to the Foxes in the FA Cup final, Chelsea leapfrogged their opponents into third at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues retain control of their fate in the race to qualify for the Champions League, a competition in which they will play this season's final later this month.

Werner will no doubt have a big role to play in the showpiece against Manchester City, but his personal fortunes showed little sign of turning in this match.

Before Antonio Rudiger's opener, Werner had two goals disallowed – one for offside, the other for handball – and a big penalty appeal waved away.

The striker did eventually win a spot-kick, a league-high fifth of the season, that Jorginho dispatched, meaning Kelechi Iheanacho's response counted for little for Leicester.

But Werner still only has six goals in the Premier League.

Although the Germany international's finishing is a concern, with his chances worth 11.24 expected goals producing shots with a value of just 8.55 expected goals on target (xGOT), there has been an element of misfortune, as the player suggests.

The 2.55 difference between his xGOT total and goals tally indicates opposition goalkeepers performing above their expected level.

"I think the first half particularly was the picture of the whole season for me up to now," Werner, whose 27 offsides rank joint-fourth in the top flight, told Sky Sports.

"I was, every time, close but at the end not really close. I think for me maybe [it was] the unluckiest season I have ever had and will have maybe, because it can't be worse.

"For example, the offside, okay the 10th time, I don't know how close it was, then a clear penalty for us. Of course I was surprised [it wasn't given] because for me it was a clear penalty.

"And then the first one, I want to make a header and I get a little push and put my arm out and then the ball goes exactly against my arm.

"I didn't know [it would be ruled out] because I felt a touch on my hand but didn't realise how it was. You see it on the picture that I get a little hit from behind and then my arm goes forward and it touches.

"Unlucky the whole season. When you have a season like this and you are so unlucky and you still in the Champions League final and maybe reach the Champions League next year, all good."

Pep Guardiola revealed Manchester City's medical staff are "optimistic" on Ilkay Gundogan's fitness, after the midfielder sustained a knee injury in the defeat at Brighton and Hove Albion.

Gundogan trudged off 56 minutes into Tuesday's contest, with City leading 2-1 at the time – the Germany international having opened the scoring early on, before Phil Foden netted a sensational second and Leandro Trossard replied for Brighton.

The 30-year-old, who has scored 17 goals across all competitions this season, was the recipient of a reckless challenge from Alireza Jahanbakhsh in the first half, and Guardiola cited this as the reason for his eventual departure.

Gundogan had an ice pack strapped to his left knee as he watched on from the sidelines, with City going on to capitulate to goals from Adam Webster and Dan Burn, whose winner sealed Brighton's first top-flight victory over the Citizens since 1981.

With the Champions League final against Chelsea coming up on May 29, Guardiola said Gundogan will be assessed on Wednesday, though the initial prognosis was positive.

"Tomorrow we are going to check it. The doctor is quite optimistic," Guardiola told a news conference.

"The problem is he had a kick and he was running in the second half with a disturbance. I didn't want to take a risk, that's why we did the substitution."

Gundogan may not be the only star midfielder facing a race against time to be fit for the showdown in Porto next week, with Chelsea's N'Golo Kante going off with a problem in their match against Leicester City.

With 32 minutes played at Stamford Bridge, Kante left the field to be replaced Mateo Kovacic.

Kante – who was named in France's squad for Euro 2020 on Tuesday – showed no obvious signs of discomfort but was seen discussing his presumed fitness problem with an animated Thomas Tuchel on the touchline.

Manchester City have announced they will pay travel costs for supporters attending the Champions League final against Chelsea in Porto.

The final will take place in the Portuguese city on May 29, having been moved from Istanbul last week after Turkey was placed on the UK's travel 'red list', due to an increase in coronavirus cases.

Discussions over staging the match between two Premier League sides in the UK fell down after UEFA were unable to secure quarantine exemptions for staff members.

Portugal emerged as a viable alternative, given it is on the UK's 'green list', with non-essential travel permitted without quarantine requirements upon return, meaning 6,000 supporters from each club are able to buy tickets at the reduced capacity Estadio do Dragao.

However, fans wishing to attend the game still face prohibitive costs concerning flights and required PCR COVID-19 tests.

In a scheme funded by owner Sheikh Mansour, those able to buy tickets to see whether Pep Guardiola's side can add a first Champions League crown to their Premier League and EFL Cup successes will now have a chunk of that cost offset.

"Pep and the team have had such a remarkable season and their reaching the Champions League final after a very challenging year represents a truly historic moment for the club," Mansour said in a club statement. 

"It is therefore incredibly important that as many fans as possible have the opportunity to attend this special game. Especially those who have supported Manchester City through good and bad times for so many years."

Fights and transfers for match-going fans will be covered under the initiative, with the process for buying tickets set to be announced later on Tuesday.

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel admitted Champions League qualification is more important than winning the FA Cup.

After missing out on the FA Cup trophy to Leicester City on Saturday, Chelsea and the Foxes will lock horns again in a blockbuster Premier League clash on Tuesday.

Chelsea are fourth in the table, only a point above fifth-placed Liverpool with two rounds remaining, while Leicester are third and two points better off than Tuchel's side.

As Liverpool lurk, Tuchel talked up the importance of securing a spot in Europe's premier club competition next season, which can also be clinched if Chelsea beat Manchester City in the Champions League final on May 29.

"I am not a good loser but I want to be a respectful loser and I am not here to play the match [the FA Cup final] down because of financial reasons," he said.

"We lost a big match, it was a huge match for us, we put out the best team possible, we did not rest anybody because we had the feeling that this game tomorrow is more important.

"But there is a but. Do we want to play Champions League next season? Yes, this is the target when I stepped into this club. I want to be very clear, the task was, 'let's try everything to be in the top four'.

"The task was not, 'let's try everything to win the FA Cup' because the FA Cup, as big as it is, does not bring you to Champions League football next season. It's the top four that brings us that.

"So, yes, tomorrow is another huge game. But like I said, the FA Cup final was big for us. Once you can collect silverware you try everything simply out of respect.

"And me and the players – be very sure about this – we think zero about how much money we earn [by qualifying for the Champions League]. This is not in our heads."

Chelsea are winless in their last six Premier League meetings with Leicester (D4 L2), having won nine of their previous 11 against them in the competition (D1 L1).

Meanwhile, Chelsea have not lost their final home league game in any of the last 18 seasons (W12 D6), since losing 3-1 against Aston Villa in the 2001-02 campaign.

Kevin De Bruyne will travel with Manchester City for their game at Brighton and Hove Albion, as Pep Guardiola insisted focus is not a problem for his team with the Champions League final looming.

De Bruyne has not featured since his starring role in City's 4-1 aggregate Champions League semi-final triumph over Paris Saint-Germain due to a muscular complaint.

But the Belgium playmaker is set to return to action for the recently crowned Premier League champions when they face Brighton at the Amex Stadium on Tuesday.

City round off their domestic campaign at home to Everton on Sunday, before attention turns to the Champions League final against Chelsea in Porto.

“Yeah, he’s been training for the last two days, he feels good,” Guardiola told a pre-match news conference of De Bruyne.

"Kevin is important like everyone is important. When we are able to stick together and push each other, it is possible to win.

"Everyone knows it but everyone is at the same level, we will see his level and see if he is fit to play the next games."

Guardiola handed a belated City debut to 35-year-old goalkeeper Scott Carson in last Friday's 4-3 victory over Newcastle United, where his side twice came from behind and Ferran Torres' hat-trick secured an English league record 12th consecutive away win, although Ederson will return for the season conclusion.

A two-time winner in the Champions League going back to his time with Barcelona, Guardiola insisted focus would not be a problem for his side over the coming week.

"We will have six days to focus on the final after the Everton game. Now it is the Brighton game," he said.

"If you are working to prepare for Brighton, you are working the best way as possible to prepare for the final.

"I'm pretty sure we cannot prepare the final of the Champions League if we are not ready for Brighton or Everton. We did not speak one second about Chelsea.

"Tomorrow we'll play to win again and this is the best way to arrive to the final. In the six days, we'll be more focused on Chelsea."

Chelsea's 1-0 defeat to Arsenal last week and Liverpool's dramatic win over West Brom on Sunday means the Blues' top-four qualification hopes are in the balance.

Thomas Tuchel's side face the prospect of high-pressure encounters against Leicester City, their weekend conquerors in the FA Cup final, and Aston Villa.

"I don't know," Guardiola replied when asked whether the contrasting workload for his team would be an advantage or a disadvantage.  

"I won't be in the locker room for Chelsea. I'm only concerned about what we have to do in these two games.

"In these 10 or 12 days we will prepare these two games and the final as best as possible. I don't know if that is better or not."

Jude Bellingham said it was "fantastic" for Borussia Dortmund to seal their place in next season's Champions League as team-mate Jadon Sancho achieved a feat last accomplished by David Beckham.

At the age of 17, Bellingham has found himself thrust into Bundesliga action at the heart of Dortmund's midfield, and the former Birmingham City youngster could be heading for Euro 2020 duty with England at season's end.

A challenging campaign for a talented Dortmund squad is ending on a high, with their 4-1 DFB-Pokal final win over RB Leipzig on Thursday followed by Sunday's 3-1 Bundesliga victory at Mainz.

That result means Dortmund, who sit third with one round of games remaining, are certain to finish in the top four. Bellingham piled praise on interim head coach Edin Terzic, who replaced the sacked Lucien Favre in December, for getting the team to tick over the closing weeks of the campaign, having looked doubtful at one stage to earn a Champions League spot.

"I'm very happy," said Bellingham. "I knew what the club's expectations were. We fell a bit short throughout the season, especially in the league.

"We were in the quarter-finals of the Champions League and won the cup. Today we've qualified for the Champions League again after being in a difficult position. That's fantastic, I'm very happy."

Bellingham added, quoted on Dortmund's official website: "Edin has a brilliant personality. He got the best out of us players, wanted to make everyone better. He's done a great job with his team. We are very happy to have him."

Goals from Raphael Guerreiro and Marco Reus in the first half at Mainz were both teed up by Sancho, helping Dortmund on their way to a seventh successive win.

In the process, winger Sancho became the first Englishman from any of Europe's top five championships to reach 10 assists in three consecutive league campaigns since Beckham, who strung together four such seasons from 1997-98 to 2000-01 with Manchester United.

Sancho missed a chunk of this season due to a muscle injury and has made just 25 Bundesliga appearances in 2020-21, but the 21-year-old has still managed 11 assists and eight goals.

Last season he managed 16 assists and 17 goals, while in 2018-19 the teenage Sancho totted up 14 assists and 12 goals.

Sancho – a rumoured Manchester United and Liverpool target – has enjoyed a remarkable week, becoming the first Englishman to score in the DFB-Pokal final as he netted twice in the thumping win over Leipzig.

He tweeted on Sunday that it was "objective complete" for Dortmund as they followed up the silverware with a place at Europe's top table next term, a result that may make it easier for the club to keep the likes of Sancho and Erling Haaland, two of Europe's most coveted young players.

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