Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan believes the enforced break in the Premier League could be beneficial for Leroy Sane.
Sane damaged the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee last August and was nearing a first-team return before the Premier League season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Gundogan said he was sometimes training with Sane, 24, remotely and feels the attacker – who has been linked with a move to Bayern Munich – could be helped by the hiatus.
‘We have the same fitness coach in Germany. Some days we do our exercises via FaceTime. It’s worked out well so far and we’re on it and trying to be very focused,’ he told City’s official website.
‘For everyone, the situation has its good and bad sides. On one hand, Leroy had already trained with the team and he had his comeback in sight, even though he still had a few minor things.
‘But he was almost back at playing again. Especially for your psyche, it’s important to be able to play again after such a long time.
‘On the other hand, he now has a bit more time to figure out those minor problems he still had. The fact that others can’t play either is not so bad for him.’
Gundogan, part of a City squad who were 25 points adrift of top-flight leaders Liverpool when play was halted, admitted it was at times tough to get motivated when training alone.
‘I have a few things to do and then I’m ready to go,’ the Germany international said.
‘To be honest, it’s not so easy to motivate yourself these days every day when you are training. You know, like people who are working from home, you can maybe compare it to that.
‘For those people, it’s also not the same as driving to work every day and then doing their jobs.
‘You have to motivate yourself to do things and to do your work. Some days it’s harder than others.’
A third successive Premier League title may be unattainable for City, but they are still in the hunt for silverware on both domestic and European fronts.
Pep Guardiola’s side have already won the Carabao Cup, and have an FA Cup quarter-final date against Newcastle to look forward to, with an elusive Champions League crown also up for grabs.
City beat Real Madrid 2-1 at Santiago Bernabeu in the first leg of their last-16 tie on 26 February, and have been tipped to win the competition for the first time in their history.
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