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SPORTS UPDATE

EPL: Haaland feeling ‘much better’ as Man City striker eyes return

Pep Guardiola has revealed Erling Haaland is feeling “much better” as the Manchester City striker targets a return to action in Saturday’s Premier League clash with Fulham.

Haaland has missed City’s past two games against Sevilla and Leicester due to a combination of a foot injury and illness.

The prolific Norwegian resumed full training on Thursday and City boss Guardiola is hopeful his star forward will be fit for this weekend’s match at the Etihad Stadium.

Haaland’s presence would be a big boost for the champions after he scored 22 goals in his first 15 competitive appearances following his close-season signing from Borussia Dortmund.

“He’s much better. We will decide today (Friday),” Guardiola told reporters. “It is a good step, a start to training, but now we have another training (session) this afternoon and will see.”

Guardiola, whose side are two points behind leaders Arsenal, has raised eyebrows by naming England playmaker Phil Foden among City’s substitutes for the past two Premier League games.

But the City boss said it was no criticism of Foden’s form – he was simply rotating his squad to keep everyone fresh during a hectic period.

“Riyad (Mahrez) has been on bench, Jack Grealish on the bench, Bernardo Silva, (Ilkay) Gundogan, Kevin De Bruyne on the bench. It is not an issue,” Guardiola said.

“We have many players and we have to use them. I demand the best and want the best of them. This is going to happen in the future. It has always been like that.

“In Dortmund we played to qualify first, and Kevin De Bruyne didn’t play one minute. It happens.”

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