Manchester City could welcome back defenders Ruben Dias and John Stones against Tottenham on Thursday.

Stones has missed City’s last two games with a minor injury while Dias has been out since the World Cup with a hamstring problem but manager Pep Guardiola said each is fit again and could face Antonio Conte’s team.

He said: “They are back. The last two training sessions they train and both are in contention.”

Without Stones and Dias, Manuel Akanji and Nathan Ake started the Manchester derby, while Aymeric Laporte offers another option in the middle of the defence.

Kevin de Bruyne, who missed training on Tuesday, is available with Guardiola confirming the Belgium international was absent due to a personal issue and is fit.

City have only registered one shot on target in their last two matches, when they lost 2-0 to Southampton in the Carabao Cup and 2-1 to Manchester United in the Premier League, but Guardiola denied that his players are struggling to adapt to Erling Haaland.

“We have played really good with him so it is not about that,” he added. “To play better, to create more chances is to provide more balls for him or the other strikers. This is what we have to work with. Sometimes, to make chances you need to make a good build-up, put the ball inside to open and spread the defensive lines and we struggled in the last two games.”

Guardiola urged his side to forget the controversy of United’s equaliser on Saturday, when Bruno Fernandes scored after a pass was directed towards the offside Marcus Rashford, and to concentrate on their own results.

He added: “We have to improve our game and control what we can control. This is what big teams have to do.”



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